The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0, driven by AIM - European Brands Association and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, is a pilot project with the objective to prove the technical viability of digital watermarks for accurate sorting of packaging waste as well as the economic viability of the business case at large-scale. Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes, the size of a postage stamp, covering the surface of a consumer goods packaging and carrying a wide range of attributes.
The aim is that once the packaging has entered into a waste sorting facility, the digital watermark can be detected and decoded by a high-resolution camera on the sorting line, which then – based on the transferred attributes (e.g. food vs non-food) – is able to sort the packaging in corresponding streams. This would result in better and more accurate sorting streams, thus consequently in higher quality recyclates benefitting the complete packaging value chain.