The Welsh Government has announced a new partnership with AI-based technology company Polytag to pilot a revolutionary recycling scheme in Wales.
Residents of a North Wales town will soon take part in a pilot for a new digital method of tracking recycling, helping Wales on its route to a zero-waste, circular economy. The Welsh Government is joining Polytag Ltd, Conwy County Borough Council and WRAP to trial a new deposit return scheme (DRS) in Colwyn Heights, Conwy.
Ecosurety has helped to financially support the four-week trial – the first of its kind in Wales - that will involve a number of homes in the area and is due to start in the spring. Householders will be provided with a set of bottles tagged by Polytag, which they will scan when placing in their recycling containers, using a free app. The bottles will also be scanned upon collection by Conwy County Borough Council’s household waste recycling team.
Analyse the habits of households
For each bottle scanned at either end of the DRS process, householders will receive a digital token – with each token worth 20p each. The tokens will then be donated to raise funds for Ysgol Pen y Bryn, the local primary school. Digital DRS schemes allow local authorities, brands and regulators to monitor recycling rates, so they can analyse the habits of households.
Polytag is based in Deeside, North Wales, and has already proven the technology’s success following a trial in the village of Greasby on the Wirral, in partnership with Ecosurety, where 91% of tagged packaging was successfully recycled.
Ecosurety Marketing manager Stephanie Housty commented "We previously supported the Polytag trial in Merseyside last year and naturally we have decided to provide financial support to this exciting development as well."
"We are thrilled to see that it also has the support of the Welsh government, the local authority and WRAP - through collaborations and trials such as this one, we really can move things forward."
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am very pleased to note that the trial of the new digital deposit return scheme will take place in the spring, and would like to thank all partners – including Polytag, Conwy County Borough Council and WRAP – for the work they’ve put in not only to ensure the trial can take place, but also to ensure it can do so safely and in line with Covid-19 guidance.
“Measures such as these will allow a more flexible system for consumers than having to return items such as bottles or containers themselves, and will link in well with existing infrastructure already in place at the household recycling collection systems run by local authorities.
“By taking advantage of new technologies, we can move closer on our route to a circular economy – and I look forward to seeing the results of the trial once it has taken place.”
Integrate seemlessly with waste collections
Phil Sutton, Polytag founder and Chief Technology Officer, said: “We’re delighted that Polytag’s technology has been recognised by a national government as a solution to improve recycling rates exponentially.
“We are confident that Polytag will integrate seamlessly with Wales’ existing waste collections and that consumers will see the benefits immediately – we can’t wait for the pilot to begin!”
WRAP Cymru’s Emma Hallett added: “We are excited to be part of this innovative pilot and are keen to understand how digital technology may help us to build on Wales’ recycling success story.”
Cllr Greg Robbins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transportation, said: “We’re delighted to be taking part in this pilot recycling scheme. It’s an exciting opportunity to use technology to track and make the most of recyclable materials while raising money for the local school.”
Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.