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Digital watermarking tests hope to improve recycling sorting - Inside Story

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

Each month the Packaging Collective reveals the Inside Story from one of our members. To kick us off, Kevin Vyse, Head of Technical at Rapid Action Packaging has selected his favourite recent packaging innovation selected via our friends at ThePackHub and their Innovation Zone database.


Digital watermarking tests hope to improve recycling sorting


Fortune 500 global manufacturer of plastic packaging products, Berry Global is a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and has pledged, alongside many others, that all of its plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. A way to help meet these demands sees the Evansville, Indiana headquartered business commence a partnership with Digimarc that could see the manufacturing of plastic packaging using barcodes as part of a brand new recycling initiative. Digimarc have previously featured in the Innovation Zone for their watermarking technique to tag packaging substrates. This includes giving an identity to shrink sleeves, IML labels and paper labels that includes information such as plastic type, manufacturer, product SKU and the composition of multi-layer materials. The barcodes help to ‘tell’ sorting systems exactly what it is. Digimarc could be integrated alongside existing Near-infrared (NIR) detectors. Berry will start the experimentations with digital watermark onto drink cups and thin wall lids for containers as part of the project.


Kevin’s Inside Story:

“The pressure is on and EPR is on its way.

Knowing where materials are in the circular economy will be vital for any producer when accounting for their own impact on the packaged good market. Digital watermarking is a huge step on in terms of logging materials as they come in to a MRF. It allows accurate logging of incoming source material and better separation and processing as a consequence. This in turn means better redemption and value from PRN’s and traceable feedstock for the recycling industry. Win Win if this can be commercialised.”



For more information on subscribing to ThePackHub’s 3,600 packaging database The Innovation Zone contact enquiries@thepackhub.com.

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