Flint Group Packaging Inks has signed up for the HolyGrail 2.0 project to solve the complexities surrounding the recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging.
Project HolyGrail was established in 2017 to speed up the transition to a global circular economy for plastics by improving recycling rates through more effective, high-quality sorting of materials. In 2020, the second phase of the project, HolyGrail 2.0, was launched to open it up as a cross-value chain initiative with greater scale and scope.
Partners involved in the project explore the viability of tagging packaging with unique, machine-readable codes to improve automated detection and sorting within current recycling systems. One technique considered is an optical code utilizing digital watermarking technology applied directly within the packaging artwork and printed onto the expanse of the printed package, usually in a repeatedly tiled manner.
By incorporating codes into packaging, the sorting system could read a range of important information relating to the packaging manufacturer, SKU, type of plastic used and composition, as well as food vs. non-food-grade properties. This data will then enable efficient sortation for onward recycling and reuse, ultimately closing the loop and creating improved circularity in the packaging supply chain.
‘HolyGrail 2.0 aligns perfectly with our vision to support the packaging industry achieve a circular economy by developing responsibly-built products and sustainable solutions,’ said Paul Winstanley, senior director of technology and innovation at Flint Group Packaging Inks. ‘It made absolute sense to commit ourselves to work with the European Brand Association (‘AIM’), which is spearheading the project, and other HolyGrail partners, to further develop this technology that will significantly increase the recycling of plastic packaging.
‘Flint Group Packaging Inks can bring some unique capabilities and expertise to the project to drive the development of digital watermarking and coding. This includes our Global Innovation Centre where we can design supporting ink and coating technology and test full-scale simulations of any proposed solutions.’