Digimarc Corporation, a global leader in digital watermarking technologies, and Wipak, a leading provider of flexible packaging solutions, today announced a strategic partnership to help retailers and global brands embrace an eco-friendly strategy to product packaging. 

By combining Digimarc digital watermarks and Wipak’s printed film technology, the companies aim to help food, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies achieve sustainability and profitability goals through innovative packaging designed to advance the fight against plastic pollution and speed the path to net zero.

“Eco-friendly packaging goes beyond being environmentally conscious. It is packaging that remains functional to minimize the environmental impact,” said Karri Koskela, Wipak's Chief Executive Officer. “Through our partnership with Digimarc, our customers not only receive packaging made from responsibly sourced materials, but they also receive packaging designed for recycling and reuse, contributing to our goal of a circular economy.”

Koskela adds, “Digimarc Recycle represents a revolution in the sortation and recycling of plastic waste, allowing companies to progress against ever-increasing stakeholder demands for action on sustainability while addressing regulatory requirements such as the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) in Europe.”

Digimarc Recycle works by linking covert digital watermarks (used to deterministically identify plastic packaging to any desired level of granularity) applied to plastic packaging with an extensible cloud-based repository of product attributes, including packaging composition, food or non-food grade plastic, product variant, brand, SKU, and more. 

By integrating Digimarc digital watermarks into Wipak printed films, this revolutionary technology overcomes the limitations of current optical sorting technologies, significantly improving the quality and quantity of recycled materials while revealing invaluable and never-before-seen post-purchase product journey data.

“Fighting plastic pollution requires global collaboration. We are excited to link arms with industry leaders like Wipak to bring powerful solutions to market,” said Digimarc President and Chief Executive Officer Riley McCormack. “Digital watermarking is a proven and high-ROI solution to the plastic pollution crisis, and it is available today. If we want producers to buy recyclate instead of continuing to use virgin plastic, we must improve the quality and quantity of plastic output at recycling facilities and offer a real opportunity for closed-loop recycling. 

Sustainability and Profitability

Just as the Universal Product Code (UPC) or European Article Number (EAN) revolutionized retail operations while generating invaluable novel purchase data, Digimarc Recycle will revolutionize plastic recycling while generating invaluable novel consumption data and sustainability metrics. 

Beyond automating the identification of packaging collection and sortation at material recovery facilities (MRFs) and plastic recycling facilities (PRFs), Digimarc digital watermarks also add value throughout the product lifecycle to enhance profitability and inform smarter outcomes. Once applied, digital watermarks support product authentication, manufacturing and supply chain inspection, dual-factor customer loyalty programs, next-generation retail checkout, and other enterprise applications, providing accretive value.