Each product will have two identical codes printed on it – one visible one, to be scanned by the consumer, the other – a UV spectrum code - by for use by the brand, at the point of production and then Polytag, when the packaging is returned for recycling.
It is envisaged that once a product is ready to be recycled, the consumer scans the PAC code using the Polytag mobile phone app. This pairs the packaging with the code stored on the Polytag cloud and enables the participating brand to identify the location of its Polytagged packaging. Consumers will be provided with instructions on how to clean and prepare the packaging for the recycling process.
Once the platform is fully adopted, rather than placing the Polytag-scanned products in a kerbside recycling bin, it is intended that consumers will arrange for a collection or simply return the packaging to participating retailers or community recycling champions from where it will be collected by Polytag.
Packaging returned to a Polytag-enabled MRF will be scanned again. Same-batch packaging is regrouped and once a sufficient quantity has been collected, it is recycled into high-grade plastic pellets or granulate that can be returned to the packaging site for the participating brand.
Consumers are placing more pressure on brands to account for the full lifecycle of their packaging. Polytag enables brands to communicate with their customers about the lifecycle of a product, recognising the consumer’s role in the recycling system and empowering brands to incentivise their customers to recycle.
By isolating packaging feedstocks at an early stage, the Polytag technology eliminates the need for so many energy intensive reprocessing stages.
This approach improves the efficiency of the existing recycling system by reducing CO2 emissions as well as moving it towards a more circular system where brands work with consumers to keep materials away from landfill and in circulation for longer.
Polytag’s tracking software will offer brands ample opportunity to capture data regarding the location, lifecycle, consumer habits and collected volumes of their packaging.
It will present recycling rates for different packaging products and provide evidence for forthcoming EPR changes and recycling regulations.
While the marking applications can be integrated into the packaging supply chain, it is envisaged Polytag will set up a series of own-brand MRF’s across the country, growing in line with demand.
These MRFs will deal specifically with high-grade feedstock, which will be produced at a higher rate and significantly lower price than existing feedstocks. The high-grade feedstocks can be delivered back to the manufacturer thereby creating a loop out of a previously linear chain.
The target markets for Polytag include corporate brands including high street retailers and multinational manufacturers who use high quantities of plastic PET, HDPE packaging or aluminium.