Invisible UV Tag adopted by M&S to sort SUPs as new Ecotrace initiative launched

Leading recycling technology firm and AIPIA member, Polytag, has announced UK retailer, Marks & Spencer (M&S) as a founding member of its Polytag Ecotrace Program an initiative set to optimize the tracing and recycling of single-use plastic packaging in the UK.

Aimed at disrupting the UK’s recycling system, the Program will deploy a network of Polytag’s Invisible UV Tag detection equipment in strategically chosen recycling centres that handle high volumes of waste. Other FMCG brands, retailers, and waste management businesses are being invited to join the program and unlock granular data on over 50% of the UK’s household waste recycling stream, says the company.

As a founding member of the program, M&S will gain real-time insights into where, when, and how much of its single-use plastic packaging is collected and sorted at recycling centres across the UK. This new data – at barcode level – will provide a verified benchmark for understanding recycling rates of its used plastic packaging, Polytag believes.

As recycled PET plastic materials sustain high demand from FMCG brand owners, the Invisible UV Tags are easily printed onto labels at production level, it claims. Once the packaging item enters the recycling stream at a recycling centre, a Polytag UV Tag Reader identifies the tag. Detecting materials allows for accurate sorting and cleaner feedstock for UK-sourced recycled PET packaging materials, it says.

Polytag is calling on other relevant industry companies to join the scheme. Members can support the deployment of a nationwide Invisible UV Tag Reader network and get a subscription to the Polytag dashboard. The online hub displays live lifecycle data on a brand’s plastic packaging materials as they enter the recycling stream, from consumer to recovery.

Alice Rackley, CEO of Polytag, said, “Currently, FMCG brands have no visibility of what happens to its single-use plastic once it has been put in the bin. As Extended Producer Responsibility Legislation comes into force, brands will need to take more responsibility for packaging materials. We would like to thank M&S for being the first partner to join our new initiative. Other businesses that are interested in joining the program should get in touch and become part of this story, which is set to shake up the industry.”

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