Food packaging manufacturer PFF is pioneering the use of digital watermarking technology on its products which will enable more accurate sorting of packaging waste and deliver higher recycling rates.
Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes on the surface of packaging carrying information about the product’s journey including manufacturer, plastic type, composition, and usage.
The ambition is that these codes can be read at waste sorting facilities by high-resolution cameras, resulting in more accurate sorting and detection of higher quality recyclates, helping to achieve better recycling goals.
The initiative is part of a trial which aims to prove the technical and economic viability of intelligent sorting at scale, enabling new recycling streams that currently do not exist. The trial is being overseen by AIM – the European Brands Association and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste – and is supported by over 130 companies and organisations.
PFF’s championing of sustainable packaging solutions has seen the company invest heavily in technology and systems to support this. Recent investments have included £200,000 in new transformer technology to reduce the company’s carbon emissions by 5%, as well as the launch of a ground-breaking, fully recyclable packaging product – IMPAC-T – which uses less plastic than equivalent PET packaging and is suitable for all food applications.
Ian Smith, group sales director at PFF Packaging, said: “Innovation and digital are the core drivers towards sustainability. At PFF we take our carbon zero commitments seriously as evidenced by our continued investment in new processes to engineer plastic out of products. This watermark technology provides a digital record of a product’s journey and has an important role to play in helping to achieve recycling targets and in making the use of recycled polypropylene in food applications a reality.”
PFF’s commitment to the environment is recognised by Operation Clean Sweep – an international initiative that aims to ensure that plastics do not end up in waterways – and by membership of the NEXTLOOPP global initiative, helping deliver the world’s first commercially available, recycled high-quality polypropylene (FGrPP).
PFF Group is a member of Made in Britain, an initiative which champions UK manufacturing.