Resource Use

Trial of ‘tag and trace’ recycling technology launched

A trial to test a new ‘tag and trace’ recycling technology has been launched today (28 October).

The trial will measure the viability of Polytag – a recycling technology platform that allows brands to ‘tag’ their packaging with a unique PAC code at the point of manufacture and then ‘trace’ the packaging so that it can be isolated and reprocessed in batches of identical grade and colour plastic.

A plastic bottle with the 'tag and trace' technology

Consumers can use Polytag’s mobile app to scan the packaging’s PAC code and then receive instructions on how to clean and prepare the packaging before returning it to Polytag via collection or drop-off at a designated collection point.

The packaging will then be taken to a Polytag materials recycling facility (MRF) to be reprocessed into high-grade Polytag pellets or granulate. These can then be returned directly to the producer, creating a circular, closed-loop recycling system.

The app will then provide the consumer with confirmation that the packaging has been recycled, granting the consumer recognition through a ‘Circular Rewards’ setting. 

With financial support from recycling compliance scheme Ecosurety, the trial will involve 60 households across Wirral, Merseyside, and will last for 40 days until 6 December.

Phil Sutton, CEO of Polytag, said: “Only 45 per cent of all plastic packaging is recycled here in the UK and yet production is expected to increase to over a million tonnes by 2030.

“Polytag seeks to tackle the pressing environmental issue caused by plastic and other packaging by helping to build a more circular recycling system that maximises the value of the materials being used. We are delighted that Ecosurety recognises the need for investment in innovative new recycling technologies through its financial support of this trial.

“We look forward to securing some valuable insights into the functionality of our technology and progressing to a position of market readiness in due course.”

Jon Brookes, Head of Partnerships at Ecosurety, added: “The potential disruptive impact of Polytag on the current recycling system is significant. Not only will Polytag offer brands a unique opportunity to engage with their customers – a vital cog in the recycling system – it has the potential to add value to a packaging waste material whilst improving the circularity of our recycling system.

“This resonates with Ecosurety’s commitment to improving the UK recycling sector through innovation, education, collaboration and investment. We are delighted to be supporting the Polytag trial and look forward to hearing the results in due course.”

You can find out more about Polytag on the company’s website.