How Polytag Technology Works

Polytag teamNov 20, 20217 min read

Technology that delivers

Polytag technology not only enables – but also optimises – the packaging circular economy.

One of Polytag’s main focuses is to enable legislators and brands to implement Digital Deposit Return Schemes. However, our describe, tag and trace technology will also be pivotal in delivering Extended Producer Responsibility in the UK, as well as helping brands and packaging producers control Plastic Packaging Tax (enforced from April 2022) and meet Environmental Social and Governance commitments.

Delivering a circular packaging economy

The Circularity Gap Report – first published at the Davos World Economic Forum in 2018 – reported that our world economy was only 9.1% circular. This demonstrated a huge ‘Circularity Gap’. In its latest report, published in 2021, the gap had increased, with only 8.6% of the world now circular. A move in the wrong direction when we can least afford it.

Why is circularity important? Achieving circularity stops raw material extraction and lowers carbon dioxide from manufacturing processes. It has a significant contribution to make in lowering global warming and limiting climate damage.

Polytag has been developed with one thing in mind. To enable the packaging circular economy. With consumables such as plastic, we need to use less virgin material. Ideally none. We need to optimise the reprocessing of packaging by effective identification and sorting. True circularity would avoid downcycling.

Where Polytag technology helps

Polytag technology not only enables – but also optimises – the packaging circular economy thanks to its collaborative and integrated describe, tag and trace solutions, which offer:

  • Easy data sharing platform
  • Unique packaging identification marking
  • Full-circle supply chain visibility
  • All powered by Polytag patent-pending technology, built to meet GS1 standards

Supporting all stakeholders in the packaging supply chain


We work with local councils to deliver successful digital DRS programmes. In 2021 we ran a pilot in Conwy, North Wales. The year before, another Polytag pilot was deployed in Greasby, in the Wirral: • Providing free, intuitive app to consumers • Working with kerbside collection teams to implement digital DRS • Deploying technology in council run MRF/PRF facilities • Real time reporting on recycling data

Brand owners

Sustainability sells. We know that consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Zers, want brands to do more for the environment. Any business can benefit from adopting Polytag technology: • Share sustainability stories direct to consumers through a tag on the product label. • Host content on GS1 Digital Link to make it dynamic – and serialised – if required • Capture packaging and recycling information and make it available to all stakeholders throughout the circular economy • Low cost, quick implementation of Polytag code on label or package (digitally printed or using UV inks) • Enable printed tags to be traced through the circular economy at various engagement points (smartphone cameras, apps, recycling facilities, etc)

Packaging producers

UK manufacturers of plastic packaging will be affected by the Plastic Packaging Tax in 2022. This is a new tax that will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into the UK, that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. • Through Polytag, producers can know exactly how much of their material is recycled • Packaging can be identified in recycling centres and positively attributed to the brand owner • Tagged packaging can be robotically picked to ensure quality feedstock • Low-cost implementation of digitally printed or UV tags • Reduce tax costs through robust audit trails and chain of custody


Working with cutting edge organisations and in partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Polytag is refining digital and UV printed tag solutions and can print on: • Any of the common substrates, including plastic, glass, cans and labels • On the visible spectrum to enable engagement with consumers • On the UV spectrum to facilitate machine vision readability


Polytag has extensively researched how to segregate waste streams at Bulking Centres, Material and Plastic Recovery Facilities. Working in partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Polytag are refining smart camera networks and integrating with robotic picking technology: • Using Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence Triple lock technology: • Classifying bottles by shape and colour • With brand assigned identifiers • With unique, intelligent, markers

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