Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


Caerphilly Firm Wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2022


Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd, subsidiary of Luxus Ltd and longstanding market leaders in masterbatch manufacture, is proud to announce that the team has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category, 2022. 

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 this award through the development and implementation of their patented Near infrared (NIR) detectable black colourants, which enable the automatic sorting and therefore recycling of black post-consumer mixed plastics. To date it is estimated their technology has diverted over 10,000 tonnes of plastic from landfill.

Simon Atterby, General Manager at Colour Tone Masterbatch ltd, 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 infra-red 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.

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 towards the colouring of polymers.

Tony Gaukroger, Director at Colour Tone Masterbatch Ltd, said: 

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 they can offer consultation to customers and help them to 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, please visit: