The Power of Intelligent Packaging: Using Digital Watermarks to Enable Circularity
Larry Logan
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
11:45 AM - 12:15 PM (CST)
Location Name
AT&T Conference Center - Zlotnik Grand Ballroom

Digital watermarking is a means to give virtually any media or physical object a unique, imperceptible digital identity in the form of a Digital Product Passport. Industry and governments see such digital identities as improving product sustainability, boosting material and energy efficiency, enabling new business models and circular value extraction based on data sharing.

How digital watermarking may be the technology solution for these questions is the subject of the HolyGrail initiatives, facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and in HolyGrail 2.0 driven by AIM (European Brands Association) and ‘powered by’ the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. More than 180 brands, retailers, printers and plastics converters, recyclers, trade associations and NGOs, such as the World Wildlife Fund, have joined to demonstrate the deployment of watermarks to more accurately sort packaging waste as well as the economic viability of the business case at large scale.

This presentation will share with conference participants the latest insights and metrics from the various HolyGrail demonstrations with participation by multinational brands. Visuals will show how plastics can now be detected with never-before accuracy in the sortation process, while overcoming the existing issues such as separating food versus non-food containers, carbon-black packaging, full-body shrink sleeves, and multi-layer flexibles. Also shared will be inclusion of digital watermarking in current EU declarations, such as harmonizing extended producer responsibility schemes. Although much attention has been focused on the technology for sortation, it also provides a means for consumers to merely point at an object and be told how to properly dispose based upon their geo-location or municipality’s acceptance guidelines.