Colour Tone Masterbatch Honoured in Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2022

Colour Tone Masterbatch, a subsidiary of Luxus and specialist additive and masterbatch manufacturer, has been honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its excellence in innovation.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses, recognising and celebrating business excellence across the UK.

Colour Tone has achieved the award by developing and implementing its patented near-infrared (NIR) detectable black colourants, which enables the automatic sorting and, therefore, recycling of black post-consumer mixed plastics. To date, it is estimated its technology has diverted over 10,000 tonnes of plastic from landfill.

Simon Atterby, General Manager at Colour Tone Masterbatch (pictured, above) said: “We are incredibly proud to have received this prestigious award, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team.

“The management of plastics is, without doubt, one of the greatest challenges we all face as we try to build a cleaner, greener future for the generations to come.”


Black plastic is mistakenly perceived by many consumers as a particular problem due to it being regarded as single-use and impossible to recycle. In fact, the polymer itself is perfectly recyclable. However, when coloured in a traditional way, it cannot be recognised by the near-infrared sorting equipment in post-consumer sorting facilities and thus is diverted to landfill.

Colour Tone recognised this and, through an innovative approach, developed and patented a product, which allows brand owners to continue to colour as they wish (including black) but via a colouring technology that is optimised for post-consumer sorting, therefore allowing the product to be identified and thereby diverted from landfill and recycled; a sustainable solution for both black plastics and other products which would otherwise not have been sorted.

Tony Gaukroger
Tony Gaukroger

Employing around 45 people, Colour Tone was founded over 25 years ago. Tony Gaukroger, one of the original founders of the company and creators of the NIR product, remains actively involved in the business, which has always retained its position as a market leader in the plastic masterbatch industry – offering tailored, innovative solutions for the colouring of polymers.

Tony Gaukroger, Director at Colour Tone Masterbatch, added: “We recognised that a fundamental part of tackling the challenge was developing technology that enabled the effective recycling of black plastic, so we applied our years of experience and insight and invested significant time and resources into making it happen.

We look forward to continuing to play our part in driving innovation and applying our specialist knowledge to build a cleaner, brighter future for our industry.”

Colour Tone’s expertise in this area means it can offer customers consultation and help them adopt more sustainable packaging solutions with reduced carbon footprint whilst maintaining a competitive price.

If you would like to find out more about this achievement, or any other aspect of Colour Tone, including career opportunities, visit

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Colour Tone Masterbatch
+44 (0) 2920 888910

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