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How to Reduce Waste from Off-Color Materials

Plastic recycle

Datacolor Ebook: Fundamentals of Color
By Jeff Watts, Senior Applications Specialist

Off-color materials happen, whether by mistake or simply being left over after a job. Did you know that you can re-use these materials and reduce waste thanks to a useful feature in Datacolor’s Match Pigment software?

When it comes to sustainability, Match Pigment’s “recycle” feature is one that favors the planet. But it also favors your bottom line: it rapidly cuts time off the ROI of your color management system. In some industries, we’ve seen the system pay for itself in a matter of months.

That’s because recycling gives you access to “free” materials and it also helps you save on material disposal fees. We asked Jeff Watts, Datacolor’s Senior Applications Specialist, to explain how this feature works in the pigment and coatings industry, but you can use it for plastics, ink, and other industrial applications as well. Here are three ways to use the recycle feature.

Work the Recycle into any New Production Batch

If you have multiple off-color products, combine them together into larger “batches of colors”. You might have a drum of gray/light colors and a drum of brown/dark colors. Then, store these just as you’d store colorants in your database.

From there, you can use them in every production batch you create. Your system will only add as much off-color product as it can without interfering with the target color. Think of this like “free volume” for larger batches.

When it comes to sustainability, Match Pigment’s “recycle” feature is one that favors the planet. But it also favors your bottom line

Work the Recycle off by Shading it Over to Your Desired Color

Say you have a bucket of beige and you want to achieve a darker brown. Any “bucket” of off-color material can be shaded over to the correct color by performing a combinatorial correction and adding necessary colorants to the bucket.

Here, you can get a new color without adding any material other than a small amount of colorant.

How to Minimize the Amount of Recycled Material You Create

Let’s say you make a mistake on a 100-pound batch of light gray by doubling the amount of colorant. There are only a few ways to fix this and one is far more friendly to the environment and your budget than the others.

  1. You add everything to the batch, but the colorant to even things out. You’ve then doubled the batch and you still have 100 pounds left over.
  2. You throw out the old batch and make a new one. Again, you’ve left 100 pounds of wasted material.
  3. The solution: by using Datacolor’s “partial batch” feature, you can add the correct ingredients to only half the batch. Then, you only have 50 pounds left over and can work off those 50 pounds using the other methods mentioned above.

Want to learn more about Match Pigment? Access our on-demand webinar series or read our blog on the basics of our software for paints pigments, plastics, leather, inks, cosmetics and more.

You can also get an introduction to Match Pigment via this video:

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