France selected to pilot digital watermarks to identify plastics for recycling


The digital watermarks initiative Holy Grail 2.0 will launch a pilot of the technology to identify plastics for recycling in France in 2024.

Companies including Henkel, L’Oréal, P&G, Citeo, Digimarc, Pellenc and Veolia will be involved in the trial in France.


HDPE rigid packaging from Henkel, L’Oréal and P&G will begin to have digital watermarks put on them in the French market.

These will then be tested at Veolia’s PlastiLoop Brenouille facility after being collected among France’s kerbside collections. They will be sorted by the Pellenc and Digimarc technology to separate enhanced non-food HDPE from packaging that does not have the watermark.

This HDPE will then be divided into detergent and cosmetic streams to be reprocessed for use as an rHDPE for detergents and cosmetics respectively.

Digimarc president and chief executive Riley McCormack said: “We are committed to working alongside this group to expand the rollout to other facility operators, brands and retailers in France, because when the only thing that stands in the way of progress is inertia, true leadership is defined by those who take action.”

Additionally, Holy Grail 2.0 will also be undertaking an R&D project to detect, sort and eject PP flexibles produced by PepsiCO and LDPE flexible from Essity and P&G. This trial will be carried out at the Hündgen Entsorgung materials recovery facility in Germany.

A three-month trial at the same site will test sorting on rigid plastics placed into Danish and German markets by several members of Holy Grail 2.0.