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      Milliken to join the Digital Watermark Project, HolyGrail 2.0, a cutting-edge European initiative to drive a truly circular economy

      HolyGrail 2.0 is working to prove the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of packaging at scale

      Ghent, Belgium – Milliken & Company’s Chemical Division, an industry leader in sustainability and the drive to improve the recyclability of plastics, has joined the Digital Watermarks Project, a large-scale initiative testing the viability of digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of plastics.

      The Digital Watermarks Project was part of a pioneering initiative facilitated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, HolyGrail 1.0, that brought together brand owners, retailers, recyclers, packaging producers and sorting technology providers from across the plastics value chain to investigate ways to improve the sorting of post-consumer plastics.

      Within HolyGrail 1.0, digital watermarks were found to be the most promising technology and a basic proof-of-concept for smart sorting was developed. HolyGrail 2.0, the 2nd iteration facilitated by AIM, the European Brands Association, will take this initiative to the next stage by validating the concept and the technology on a semi-industrial scale.

      “This is a great initiative with buy-in from across the plastics value chain. Sustainability, innovation and digital are being combined to help achieve the objective of the European Green New Deal to make the EU’s economy sustainable by 2050. We are proud to be part of something that can help to drive a circular plastics economy,” said Wim Van de Velde, Milliken’s Vice President Europe, Middle-East and Africa (Chemical Division).  

      The second phase will aim to test sorting efficiencies, consumer engagement, and distribution tracking. It will require the participation of a large critical mass of brand owners and retailers who will need to modify product packaging with digital watermarks provided by the technology partner(s). The technology partners will adapt larger sorting facilities to incorporate watermark readers necessary to process at a large scale.

      “At Milliken we are passionate about transforming the impact that plastics have on the environment for the better. One of our key priorities is to improve the recyclability of plastics by developing additives that improve the performance of polyolefins and allow for higher percentages of post-consumer resin. HolyGrail 2.0 fits into our vision of a circular future,” explained Wim Van de Velde.

      Following the validation of the Digital Watermarking Project at semi-industrial scale, packaging coded with digital watermarks will be introduced in a national test market. The project is scheduled to report on its findings in mid-2022.

      To find out more about HolyGrail 2.0 visit http://www.aim.be/priorities/digital-watermarks. To find out more about Milliken’s sustainability and CSR initiatives visit chemical.milliken.com/sustainability.

      About Milliken

      Materials science expert Milliken & Company knows that a single molecule has the potential to change the world. With innovations spanning textiles, flooring, specialty chemicals, and healthcare, Milliken solutions answer the call of some of the world’s greatest challenges.Named to the World’s Most Ethical Companies list by Ethisphere Institute for 14 years, the company continues to meet the moment with an unwavering commitment to sustainably solving problems for its customers, industries and communities. Eight thousand associates across 46 locations globally rally behind a common purpose: to positively impact the world for generations. Discover more about the curious minds and inspired solutions at Milliken at www.icict.net, and join us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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