Polymark : EU Project

Polymark is a three-year research project funded by the European Commission with the aim of developing a new technology that will enable the identification and sorting of polymers, including PET, in the high-value plastics waste stream.


PET is one of brand owners’ packaging materials of choice due to its outstanding performance in safely delivering products to consumers, its 100% recyclability and re-use capabilities.
Polymark aims to maximise the value from recycling and the re-use of this valuable resource, while meeting EU rules on the re-use of food contact and non-food contact PET.  The technology we are developing will successfully distinguish between food contact and non-food contact plastics, aiming to further optimise the high-value waste stream and ultimately increase a more valuable use of these materials.

Project achievements

Development of the Chemical Marker

Within Polymark a chemical food-contact approved marker was identified. The marker is used for coating on a bottle or on a label. After identification and sorting, this coated marker can be subsequently removed by existing recycling plant washing.

Development of the Spectral Identification Technology

The Polymark detection principle for sorting is based on UV-excitation and VIS-fluorescence. The detection system has been designed and successfully implemented. It is capable of sorting food-grade PET bottles at 3 m/s belt speed with spatial resolution of 10 mm. This spectral marking technology could be also used for other applications (e.g. cleaning process, composition, etc.).

Development and Functionality of the Polymark Industrial Scale Sorting System

The marker detection setup is built from two basic units: a high energy UV light unit for excitation of the marker and a highly sensitive camera to detect the weak fluorescence signals emitted from the marker. This Polymark sorting machine is able to achieve an output purity of 98% on the major input fraction.

For more information, watch the brand new Polymark project video or visit : www.polymark.org



For more information, download the Polymark project flyer here.

by PEAK Sourcing