More than 85 companies and organisations have joined the cross-value chain initiative to advance economy goals


AIM has launched digital watermarks initiative for smart packaging recycling in EU. (Credit: AIM)

AIM, the European Brands Association, has launched a digital watermarks initiative called HolyGrail 2.0 to support smart packaging recycling in the European Union (EU).

HolyGrail 2.0 is a pilot project designed to validate the viability of digital watermarking technologies for accurate sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU.

More than 85 companies and organisations from the complete packaging value chain have joined the initiative for the advancement of circular economy goals.

The cross-value chain initiative is supported by companies such as Amcor, Henkel, Mondi, Constantia Flexibles, Siegwerk, ITC Packaging, Kiefel Packaging and others.

Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes that cover the surface of consumer goods packaging

With the size of a postage stamp, digital watermarks are imperceptible codes that cover the surface of consumer goods packaging.

Digital watermarks can carry a range of attributes such as manufacturer, SKU, type of plastics used and composition for multilayer objects, food versus non-food usage and others.

The digital watermark can be identified and decoded by a standard high-resolution camera on the sorting line based on the transferred attributes upon the entry of packaging into a waste sorting facility. It will help to sort the packaging into corresponding streams.

Also, the digital watermarks hold the potential to use in other areas such as consumer engagement, supply chain visibility and retail operations.

AIM director general Michelle Gibbons said: “The 3 key ingredients here are innovation, sustainability and digital, combined to achieve the objective of the Green Deal towards a clean, circular and climate neutral economy.

“It is terrific to see such enthusiasm from across the industry and to be able to unite such expertise from the complete packaging value chain, from brand owners and retailers to converters, EPR schemes, waste management systems, recyclers and many more. Collaboration is the way forward to achieve the EU’s circular economy goals.”

In July this year, The Recycling Partnership, a non-profit organisation, launched Polypropylene Recycling Coalition, a new industry collaboration to enhance the circular economy.