Polytag says a digital DRS in UK is ‘paramount’ to avoid unnecessary costs, inconvenience of traditional reverse vending machine models; company recently completed digital DRS pilot with Ocado involving monetary rewards for recycling plastic packaging

Sample article from our Sustainability & Social Responsibility

October 2, 2023 (press release) –

It was just last month that Polytag completed its world-first, nationwide digital deposit return scheme (DDRS) pilot with Ocado Retail. The scheme saw customers offered monetary rewards for recycling specific products packaged in plastic. To date, over 20,000 20p rewards have been claimed by customers demonstrating the viability of a DDRS.

Following the success of our nationwide project with Ocado Retail, we are pleased to see the Welsh Government’s local scheme in Brecon receiving equal amounts of positive comments, further bolstering our industry’s collective effort towards achieving a nationwide DDRS. Echoing Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, it is vital that we explore the different ways in which a DRS can be delivered that will benefit brands, retailers, customers, and the supply chain for a long-term, scalable solution with minimal disruptions, interference, and manual labour.

A logistically viable solution is essential to bolster recycling rates in the UK. To deliver our successful project with Ocado, Polytag generated and stored over 2.5 million unique-every-time serialised codes that were directly integrated and printed onto milk bottle labels, ensuring no disruption or unnecessary manual labour. Invisible UV tags were also applied, enabling MRFs to scan bottles when they were recycled which gave Ocado access to unprecedented insights into it's packaging.

It is Polytag’s scalability that was the key to the project, meeting the demands of thousands of consumers at a rate of over 350 a day and over 20,000 rewards claimed in a 50-day period. As the industry looks ahead to a large scale, nationwide DRS scheme, it will be paramount that a digital solution can be deployed successfully to avoid the unnecessary costs, carbon emissions and inconvenience of traditional Reverse Vending Machine models.

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Jason Irving
Jason Irving
- SVP Enterprise Solutions -

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