HolyGrail 2.0 is working to prove the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of packaging at scale
Ghent, Belgium – Milliken & Company’s Chemical Division, an industry leader in sustainability and the drive to improve the recyclability of plastics, has joined the Digital Watermarks Project, a large-scale initiative testing the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of plastics.
The Digital Watermarks Project was part of a
pioneering initiative facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, HolyGrail
1.0, that brought together brand owners, retailers, recyclers, packaging
producers and sorting technology providers from across the plastics value chain
to investigate ways to improve the sorting of post-consumer plastics.
Within HolyGrail 1.0, digital watermarks were found
to be the most promising technology and a basic proof-of-concept for smart
sorting was developed. HolyGrail 2.0, the 2nd iteration facilitated by AIM, the
European Brands Association, will take this initiative to the next stage by
validating the concept and the technology on a semi-industrial scale.
“This is a great initiative with buy-in from across
the plastics value chain. Sustainability, innovation and digital are being
combined to help achieve the objective of the European Green New Deal to make
the EU’s economy sustainable by 2050. We are proud to be part of something that
can help to drive a circular plastics economy,” said Wim Van de Velde,
Milliken’s Vice President Europe, Middle-East and Africa (Chemical Division).
The second phase will aim to test sorting
efficiencies, consumer engagement, and distribution tracking. It will require
the participation of a large critical mass of brand owners and retailers who
will need to modify product packaging with digital watermarks provided by the
technology partner(s). The technology partners will adapt larger sorting
facilities to incorporate watermark readers necessary to process at a large
“At Milliken we are passionate about transforming the
impact that plastics have on the environment for the better. One of our key
priorities is to improve the recyclability of plastics by developing additives
that improve the performance of polyolefins and allow for higher percentages of
post-consumer resin. HolyGrail 2.0 fits into our vision of a circular future,”
explained Wim Van de Velde.
Following the validation of the Digital Watermarking
Project at semi-industrial scale, packaging coded with digital watermarks will
be introduced in a national test market. The project is scheduled to report on
its findings in mid-2022.
To find out more about HolyGrail 2.0 visit http://www.aim.be/priorities/digital-watermarks. To find out
more about Milliken’s sustainability and CSR initiatives visit chemical.milliken.com/sustainability.
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