In July 2022, INEOS Olefins and Polymers Europe announced that it had joined the Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0, a ground-breaking technology. The digital watermarks are imperceptible codes covering the surface of the packaging and detectable only by special cameras linked to high speed waste sorting systems. It could make a real difference to recycling rates and help industry make more high quality end products using recycled materials.
Plastic packaging collection rates are improving across Europe, but 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. Part of the solution is technologies that automate the separation of recyclable materials such as different types of plastics and metals from waste, giving producers access to high quality recycled raw materials they can put back into use.
Watch BBC feature (YouTube) for more on how the watermarks work.