Procter & Gamble Co. says it has hit its goal in its P&G Pioneer Holy Grail project, and the first bottles using its digital watermark technology developed in the program will hit the market this year.
At the 2020 Petcore Conference in Brussels, Gian de Belder, leader of the Holy Grail project and Sustainability and Circular Economy Scientist rhe company will introduce the digital watermark technology in its Lenor beads and Unstoppable scent booster bottles in Germany by October.
The Pioneer Holy Grail project, which launched in 2016 and officially ended in May 2019, demonstrated the potential of integrating digital watermark technology, making use of tags, or codes that are barely visible to the human eye into printed materials, such as labels, sleeves, in-mold labels, films/pouches, or even directly into a mold, in the case of PET bottles and HDPE packaging.
This watermark could include attributes such as type of plastic, product manufacturer, contents and its barrier layer composition. Packaging then can store information throughout the entire value chain, and the complete life cycle of a piece of packaging is made transparent.
That makes it easier to recycle as well as identifying the packaging at stop along the supply chain.
De Belder said P&G is already working on its follow-up, Holy Grail 2.0, with numerous participating companies are preparing for the next stage: digital watermarks to promote sustainable management of plastic packaging waste. U.S.-based Digimarc, a pioneer in automatic recognition technologies, is collaborating with stakeholders in the project. The digital watermark technology developed by Digimarc is being used by P&G in its initial roll-out.
Holy Grail 2.0 was sucessfully launched during K 2019, with the first test carried out at sorting technology specialist Tomra’s recycling headquarters in Mülheim-Kärlich, Germany, an event that drew 140 attendees.
Tomra was a key development partner in the Pioneer project and continues to collaborate on the follow-up 2.0 project.