Mondelēz International has announced plans to test digital watermark technology to ensure better sorting and higher-quality recycling of packaging materials in the EU.
It has partnered with AIM - the European Brands Association - and other European companies and organisations to test the technology.
The collaboration is part of the company’s global strategy to deliver against its long-term vision for zero-net waste packaging by 2025, the company said.
Launched as part of the company’s cross-value chain initiative, ‘HolyGrail 2.0’, the pilot will explore the role of digital watermark technologies for more accurate sorting of packaging and higher-quality recycling.
The sorting of post-consumer waste by accurately identifying packaging has been identified as one of the biggest obstacles to creating a circular economy, Mondelēz added.
Michael Stumpf, Europe RDQ packaging sustainability manager, Mondelēz International, said, “We are excited to be joining this innovative pilot, HolyGrail 2.0 is a further step towards our goal of zero-net waste packaging by 2025.
"We want to remove barriers to recycling efficiency and believe that when business unites under a common goal we can create positive impact at scale for people and planet.”
Digital watermarks are postage-stamp-sized codes on the packaging of consumer goods that offer a wide range of information about the products.
These include manufacturer’s details, SKU, type of plastics used and composition for multilayer objects, food vs. non-food usage, and a host of there details.
These details, encoded in the digital watermark, are decoded by a standard high-resolution camera in the waste sorting facility.
It helps determine accurate sorting streams for different packaging materials, which in turn results in higher-quality recyclates, the company said.
Digital watermarks also have the potential to be used in other areas such as consumer engagement, supply chain visibility and retail operations.
Mondelēz has pledged to make 100% of its packaging recyclable and labelled with consumer information by 2025 as part of its ‘Pack Light and Pack Right’ approach.