Ineos Olefins and Polymers Europe has become the latest company to join the Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0. This initiative is the second stage of a project aimed at addressing and improving how plastic waste is sorted for recycling.
Although plastic packaging collection rates are improving across Europe, challenges in sorting mean that recycled plastics are often a mix of types and grades, making the recycled product difficult for plastics converters to re-use.
During the first stage of the project, digital watermarks were determined to be the most promising option to simplify the machine sorting of waste without having to use chemical additives.
Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes which cover the surface of the packaging. They are around the size of a postage stamp, imperceptible to the human eye, but detectable by special cameras linked to high-speed waste sorting systems.
Using digital watermarks offers a robust, cost-effective, and easily scalable system to optimise the sorting of post-consumer plastics packaging and improve the quality of the recycled product.
Rob Ingram, CEO, Ineos Olefins and Polymers North, noted that partnering with HolyGrail 2.0 demonstrates Ineos’ commitment to taking action across the value chain, to create a more sustainable future.
“It fits perfectly with the Ineos goal to increase recycling rates and the use of recycled materials back into everyday products,” he said.
“Plastics are essential to our everyday lives. They keep our food fresh and safe to eat, and help us produce other day-to-day items, like our phones and our televisions. But we recognise and share people’s concerns - working together we can make the plastic economy more circular, and help to reduce plastic waste.”
The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0 is driven by AIM, the European Brands Association and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.