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France becomes first country to implement Digimarc's plastics recycling platform

Plastic bottles move up a conveyor
Digimarc Recycle allows brand owners to digitize products and packaging, enabling a direct communication channel with consumers. Digimarc

France, selected by the HolyGrail initiative leadership team, will become the first country-wide implementation of Digimarc Recycle. Digimarc Recycle allows brand owners to digitize products and packaging, enabling a direct communication channel with consumers. When the digitized item is scanned with a Smartphone, consumers can see recycling instructions and sustainability content of the item.

Digimarc says that this marks a milestone in combatting plastic pollution and that the implementation of Digimarc Recycle is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of stakeholders who want to unlock the circular economy for plastics, address fast-approaching legislation, and create a more sustainable world.

By linking covert digital watermarks (used to identify plastic packaging to any desired level of granularity deterministically) with an extensible cloud-based repository of product attributes (such as brand, SKU, product variant, packaging composition, food/non-food/cosmetics use, etc.), Digimarc Recycle helps drive a step change in the quality and quantity of recyclate. This improvement also unlocks new end markets for post-consumer recyclate that do not exist today. Moreover, the information used to drive this sortation in facilities provides product-specific and location-based disposal instructions via a brand-owned direct-to-consumer digital communication channel accessed via on-pack watermarks or QR codes.

"Digimarc applauds the vision and action of the France team and its pioneering member organizations, including P&G, L'Oreal, Henkel, Veolia, CITEO, and Pellenc ST," said Riley McCormack, Digimarc president and CEO. "Moreover, we are committed to working alongside this group to expand the rollout to other facility operators, brands, and retailers in France, because when the only thing that stands in the way of progress is inertia, true leadership is defined by those who take action."

In addition to providing the information necessary to power advanced sortation at recycling facilities, Digimarc Recycle captures and provides a view of the post-purchase product journey benefiting stakeholders across the value chain. Among these benefits, governments can gain insights into the size, scope, and content of their waste stream; producer responsibility organizations (PROs) can design and implement more meaningful and more accurate extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes; facility operators can unlock operational efficiencies and insights; and brand owners and retailers can access data to power design-for-recyclability improvements, packaging-usage reductions, consumer behaviour insights, and overall functional gains.

"We are excited to work with the stakeholders in the French market and are committed to helping expand this initiative in Europe," McCormack concluded. "Digimarc is also engaged with other groups, across multiple continents, to open new Digimarc Recycle markets. The technology to effect real change exists today, and delayed adoption leads to permanent and irreversible damage to our planet." 

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