German discounter Aldi its testing digital watermarks on own-brand product packaging as it seeks to improve the recyclability of packaging materials.
The pilot project is part of a study by the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative, launched in 2022, to test the technical feasibility of digital watermarks in order to promote the sorting of plastic packaging for recycling purposes.
Aldi added that the initiative is now entering its third phase with a corresponding sorting study.
Alexander Markov, managing director of national supply chain management at Aldi Süd stated, "In order to create the conditions for high-quality recyclates on the market, as a member of the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative we are endeavouring to sort as much material as possible in the best possible way and thus make an important contribution to the circular economy."
The lack of standardised infrastructures for the collection, sorting and recycling of plastic packaging has been identified as one of the biggest challenges in plastic recycling, the discounter noted.
Aldi is adding digital watermarks to around 18 kefir and yoghurt SKUs soda under the Milsani brand.
The first products labelled with the invisible codes are already available in stores, the discounter added.
The digital watermarks contain information about the packaging material, among other things.
In recycling plants, special cameras read the relevant data and help to sort packaging materials into the individual waste streams for better recycling.
In 2020, Mondelēz International announced plans to test digital watermark technology in association with AIM - the European Brands Association - and other European companies and organisations to test the technology.