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Flint Group Packaging Inks joins HolyGrail 2.0 project


January 8, 2021
By PrintAction Staff

Flint Group Packaging Inks has joined the HolyGrail 2.0 project that aims to solve the complexities surrounding the recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging.

The project was established in 2017 to speed the transition to a global circular economy for plastics by improving recycling rates through more effective, high quality sorting of materials. The second phase of the project, HolyGrail 2.0, was launched in 2020 as a cross-value chain initiative with greater scale and scope.

Partners involved in the project are looking into the viability of tagging packaging with unique, machine-readable codes to improve automated detection and sorting within current recycling systems. One possibility is to apply an optical code using digital watermarking technology, which would be applied directly within the packaging artwork and printed onto the expanse of the printed package, usually in a repeating manner.

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“HolyGrail 2.0 aligns perfectly with our vision to support the packaging industry achieve a circular economy by developing responsibly-built products and sustainable solutions. It made absolute sense to commit ourselves to working with the European Brand Association (‘AIM’), which is spearheading the project, and other HolyGrail partners, to further develop this technology that will significantly increase the recycling of plastic packaging,” said Paul Winstanley, senior director of Technology & Innovation at Flint Group Packaging Inks.

“Flint Group Packaging Inks can bring some unique capabilities and expertise to the project to drive the development of digital watermarking and coding. This includes our Global Innovation Centre where we can design supporting ink and coating technology and test full scale simulations of any proposed solutions,” he added.

One of the largest hurdles to the recycling of quality plastics is that with many material combinations, current sorting technologies only recognize a limited number of polymers. By incorporating codes into packaging, the sorting system would be able to ‘read’ relevant information related to the packaging manufacturer, SKU, type of plastic used and composition, as well as food or non-food-grade properties. This data will then help efficiently sort plastics for recycling and reuse, ultimately closing the loop and creating improved circularity in the packaging supply chain.