Permanent marking for circular economy

Marking refillable assets like PET bottles with an individual code represents the key to creating a circular economy. This innovative technique seamlessly integrates traceability and sustainability, fostering a closed-loop system for reusable packaging materials.

By imprinting serialized QR codes directly onto bottles, each container becomes easily identifiable throughout its lifecycle. These codes can contain vital information about the unit’s origin, life cycles and usage history. Consumers scan these codes to access valuable data, such as recycling instructions or even receive a deposit.

To ensure that the identification remains legible over the entire lifetime of a bottle, a method is required that is durable enough to withstand several intensive cleaning cycles. Permanent marking with laser is the perfect technology for this job - although it comes with its own challenges. And we have mastered them!

Digitalizing the circular economy of bottles

A sustainability success story with Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company undoubtedly is one of the biggest brands and producers of soft drinks in the world. With an ambitious strategy, the company takes its part in facing global plastic waste challenges: driving change through a circular economy for packaging. Besides increasing the use of recycled materials, reusing and refilling play a central role in their sustainability goals. Joining forces with license holders, filling companies, bottle producers and solution providers, they went on a journey to build the base for a brighter future – unaware of the challenges and surprising discoveries that awaited them. With Wipotec, the “New Technologies” team had a highly committed and experienced partner at its side. The result should become an award-winning project with the potential to be rolled out worldwide, performing even beyond expectations.

Coca-Cola revolutionizes circular economy with refPET serialization

Wipotec development drives sustainable innovation

In this Interview, Alfeu Jr., specialist for new technologies as Coca-Cola, describes the goal and course of “project refPET serialization”. Wipotec played a central role in this initiative by developing pioneering technology to ensure traceability throughout the bottle lifecycle, marking a significant step towards a circular economy. Alfeu Jr. describes this contribution as decisive for the success of the project – which should turn out unique in many aspects.

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Enhancing Traceability in Refillable Packaging

The right marking on the bottles enhances the circular economy by facilitating efficient sorting and refilling processes. Moreover, the serialization of QR codes enables effective tracking of each bottle's journey, from manufacturing to recycling, thus minimizing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. Along the way, producers and brand owners collect valuable data.

Furthermore, laser marking eliminates the need for additional labels or packaging materials, reducing the overall environmental footprint associated with traditional marking methods.

This streamlined approach not only conserves resources but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of refillable assets.

Laser marking serialized QR codes on refillable assets like PET bottles represents a sustainable solution that promotes circularity, transparency, and environmental stewardship in packaging practices.

Laser marking: a sustainable solution

Our TQS portfolio is known for combining all modules under one control and providing open interfaces for a data exchange with higher-level systems. This version of the Traceable Quality System is equipped with three marking lasers and three inspection cameras to verify the markings. It is particularly developed to apply serialized QR-codes onto PET bottles without without compromising their durability.

We have optimized the setup specifically to achieve codes that verifiably comply with the GS1 Digital Link Standard - an important basis for ensuring that the marking can later be read at all points in the supply chain.

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