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Digimarc and Wipak Partner to Create Sustainable Smart Packaging with Digital Watermarks

New packaging combines Digimarc's digital watermarks and Wipak’s printed film technology to enhance plastic recycling, improve efficiency, and unlock valuable data for brands.

Digimarc

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Digimarc Corporation, the pioneer and global leader in digital watermarking technologies, and Wipak, a leading provider of flexible packaging solutions for global markets, 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 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. 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. Together with Wipak, we address this need – helping global brands and manufacturers get into action with the sustainable packaging and innovative technology required to effect environmental change, increase profitability, and unlock an immensely valuable source of new data.”

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.

“Digimarc uniquely identifies and authenticates physical goods and digital assets, often where other means of authentication and identification don’t work well or don’t work at all. This previously unavailable interactivity not only immediately increases profitability, but it also unlocks new sources of enterprise data,” said McCormack. “And in the era of artificial intelligence driven insights, the company with the most data wins.”

As a founding member of Digimarc’s Center of Expertise (CoE) program, Wipak receives unparalleled access to expertise and tools to incorporate Digimarc's groundbreaking technology into digital identification and authentication solutions across industries. As a premier-level member, the company can also offer customers the option to deploy digital watermarks now and activate them later. Unlike other data carriers, which can’t be turned off once deployed, Digimarc digital watermarks allow companies to anticipate future needs while taking advantage of packaging refreshes, regional rollouts, marketing campaigns, and other initiatives.

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