Describe, tag and trace technology that enables the implementation of digital deposit return schemes (DDRS). Apply the codes and unlock amazing analytics and DDRS opportunities.


Polytag is an innovative ‘describe, tag and trace’ technology that implements Digital Deposit Return Schemes (DDRSs) and prepares brands for the upcoming Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation. Our platform helps businesses make informed decisions on people, packaging and the planet.

The Polytag solution comprises of two codes - a black ink QR code and a UV 2D data matrix.

The black ink QR code is unique-every-time and is applied at the printing or bottling stage, without affecting production speeds. The codes are GS1 compliant and use an open standard. Consumers scan the code using their phones and are taken to a landing page with recycling information and marketing or education opportunities. This new marketing channel can be updated regularly and is a new way to directly engage with customers. Customers can also scan the tag using a smartphone app to redeem their deposits for a deposit return scheme.

2D data matrix tags are also applied in a UV ink, invisible to the human eye, which counts the number of your bottles seen in recycling centres. All of this information is presented on the Polytag Dashboard, where brands can access never-before-seen data. This granular data is fantastic for upcoming EPR legislation.

Polytag is working hard with Welsh Government, GS1, brands, printers, manufacturers and local councils to meet the complex industry needs. We believe in collaboration, and partners have included Nestlé Waters, Ocado, Co-op, Ecosurity, WRAP, OPRL, Dsposal and many more.

Contrary to the reverse vending machine (RVM) model, it facilitates a DRS compatible with the UK’s kerbside infrastructure, fostering greater compliance and harnessing consumers’ familiarity with QR codes.

Last year, we delivered the UK’s first DDRS pilot, testing the viability of Polytag technology being incorporated into existing council waste collection services. The results were fantastic. 263 registered households scanned at least one bottle; an engagement rate of 97%. During the pilot, data from a report published by the Irish Waste Management Association was used, to compare carbon emissions associated with RVMs and DDRS. It was estimated that in Wales alone, the net benefit in terms of carbon emissions derived from adopting a DDRS would be approximately 13,000tCO2e per annum (equivalent to burning 6,500t of coal each year), stemming predominantly from the absence of households making individual trips to collection points and additional infrastructure required for RVM manufacture and installation.

Furthermore, Resource Futures have predicted a DDRS would produce an annual cost saving of £323m compared to the RVM model. Both the environmental and commercial potential is clear for all to see and optimisation of plastic recycling is long overdue. Polytag is piloting its technology with Ocado and expects widespread adoption to support brands with EPR legislation in the future.

We are currently working with AMRC Cymru (part of the University of Sheffield) and the Welsh Government to implement our Polytag UV Tag Reader Technology across Wales.

Key Benefits

- There are increasing obligations and upcoming legislation (Deposit Return Schemes, Extended Producer Responsibility and Plastic Packaging Tax) that mean you need to know more about your packaging composition and lifecycle
- Consumers want to recycle more and Polytag enables this
- This is a new marketing opportunity for brands to directly connect to customers.
- Our data platform helps to develop an informed strategy on people, packaging and the planet
- Polytag technology is completely retrofittable for manufacturers, label makers and recycling centres
- GS1 partner approved
- QR codes are the future of barcodes
- Improves UK feedstocks
- Improve traceability of your products
- Use existing UK infrastructure to improve recycling rates without the need for costly Reverse Vending Machines


Our technology is perfect for those who will be affected by upcoming packaging legislation - Extended Producer Responsibility, Plastic Packaging Tax and Deposit Return Schemes.

We have done pilots with Prince's Gate water, Nestlé Water, Wells Farm Dairy, and we are currently working in partnership with Ocado and Co-op.

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