The HolyGrail 2.0 initiative has the ambitious goal of assessing whether this pioneering digital technology can enable better sorting and higher-quality recycling rates for packaging in the EU, thereby driving a truly circular economy.
Mondi was a founding member of the original Pioneer Project HolyGrail, facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur foundation. Now over 85 partners across the value chain are working together to refine and commercialise this concept, with Mondi continuing its active role in trialling the innovative technology.
Postage stamp sized watermarks on packaging—which are not visible to the naked eye—make it possible to effectively sort the material into specific waste streams. Conventional sensor technologies (e.g. near infrared spectroscopy) are not able to reliably identify multi-material packaging, so they can end up as contaminants when recycling mono-materials. With this new technology, it becomes possible to separate materials more accurately and generate new waste streams, which then can be recycled with enhanced recycling technologies. These digital watermarks also provide other opportunities. For example, consumers can use a smartphone app to find details about the packaging and how to recycle it, and brand owners can add product details as well.