Sonoco Joins Holy Grail 2.0, an Initiative to Prove Viability of Digital Watermarking for Sorting Packaging Waste

Sonoco, one of the most sustainable, diversified global packaging companies, is pleased to announce its partnership with the Digital Watermarks Initiative Holy Grail 2.0, an initiative facilitated by AIM, the European Brands Initiative, to prove the viability of digital watermarking for sorting packaging waste and the business case at scale.

The Holy Grail 2.0 initiative has the goal of assessing whether digital technology can enable better sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU. Today, more than 85 partners across the value chain are working together to refine and commercialize this concept.

“At Sonoco we recognize the critical importance of developing sustainable packaging solutions that will protect and preserve our planet for future generations,” said Jeff Schuetz, Staff Vice President, Consumer Technology, at Sonoco. “Sonoco has been engaged in sustainability efforts almost as early as our founding. We are one of the few companies in our industry with a recycling business, and we are highly focused on creating more sustainable packaging as evidenced by the introduction of our EnviroSense® line, packaging with tomorrow in mind™. Our EnviroSense portfolio focuses on attributes such as reduced environmental impact, optimized package-to-product ratio, increased use of recycled content, recyclability, responsible fiber sourcing, compostability, and the use of bio-based materials. And now we are proud to be a member of the Holy Grail 2.0 initiative, where we can help advance sortation and recycling of packaging of all types.”

Imperceptible postage stamp sized watermarks on packaging aim to make it possible to effectively sort the material into specific waste streams. Conventional sorting technologies are not able to reliably identify multi-material packaging, so they can end up as contaminants in mono-material recycling streams. With this new digital watermarking technology, it might become possible to separate materials more accurately, which can then be recycled with enhanced technologies. Digital watermarks also provide other opportunities. For example, consumers can use a smartphone app to find details about packaging and how to recycle it, and brand owners can add product details to a package.

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