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Plastic recycling with watermarks

results demo Tomra 2019

Amazing results in sorting Plastics with Interactive Watermarks from Filigrade during Demo show at Tomra in Koblenz

On Thursday 16 May a demo show was organized on behalf of Petcore Europe by the Pioneer project group "HolyGrail". This demo show took place at the TOMRA Sorting Recycling test center in Koblenz. The aim of the Holy-Grail project group over the past 3 years was to investigate what the best methodology for the future would be for better and more extensive sorting of plastics so that sorted plastic could be used again as a valuable raw material.

During the demo show, members of Petcore Europe could see live how interactive watermarks from FiliGrade sorted out various types of plastics, such as PET bottles, Food-graded PET, bottles with sleeves, black bowls, various other PP plastic packaging and HDPE and separated from other waste. The speed at which this took place was amazing, namely more than 3 m / per second and a score of more than 95% purity.

Next steps are now being defined and the excellent results will be presented by Petcore on May 22 during the 7th New Plastics Economy workshop in London.

image: bottle large

By adding a 3D-Watermark to plastics, mostly PET-bottles and trays, FiliGrade provides waste sorting companies a unique method for selecting.

When reading the nearly invisible watermark is exactly known what type of plastic the product is, so an optimal selection can be done. And different to chemical methods: no residu remains so the plastic can be optimal recycled! 

Nearly invisible for the human eye, but readable by a (mobile) camera, in infrared, daylight, ultraviolet 

The watermark is covering the full product so dirt and distortions have no influence on the readability

FiliGrade patented technology makes a circular economy achievable.

Februari 2018, FiliGrade tested successfully their solution for reading watermarks on IML-tubs and transparent PET-bottels at a speed of 2 meter per second on a waste belt, next step is improving reading speed. The principle of the selection method with watermarks, printed or embedded is now approved as fully functional.

An example of reading a PET-tray with a smartphone as a consumer could do to find out if the tray should end in the plastic disposal bin or in the rest disposal bin for proper recycling.


The project 'PET-Recycling with watermarks' is being subsidized by the European Union via the programme OP-Oost.