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Digital Watermarks for Recycling Plastic Packaging: Who, What, Why, and Where?

Digital watermarks are referred to as the Holy Grail 2.0 enabler of plastic packaging recycling, but what is it, what’s happening, and what brands are involved?

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

November 9, 2020

1 Min Read
Digital Watermarks Benefits

Digital watermarks are receiving a lot of attention from major brand owners across the globe including PepsiCo, Mondelēz, and Nestlé, as well as industry associations such as AIM, the European Brands Association.

What’s all the buzz about?

In short, it’s an enabling technology for permitting automated sortation of plastic packaging by recycling facilities using a hidden mark, aka the digital watermark.

The technology has so much utility and potential for recycling it’s referred to as Holy Grail 2.0.

To help you learn a whole lot more, we’ve collected a helpful selection of useful Tweets with links so you can learn directly from several of the dozens of stakeholders. These include GS1, which in this 14-minute video asks “Can digital watermarks provide a reliable and efficient tagging system? And can they contribute to a circular economy for plastics, more specifically in a smart sorting process? The Pioneer project HolyGrail was set up to investigate that! Over 80 companies are part of the consortium.”

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This Tweet’s link points to a lengthy 50-minute SPC presentation that includes speakers from Procter & Gamble and AIM.

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To keep up with the latest news, search #digitalwatermarks or #HolyGrail2 on Twitter.


About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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