A key milestone for Polytag’s technology was the Greasby trial, that was run in Q4 2019 in partnership with Ecosurety.
How did the trial work?
Polytag engaged with 50 households, giving them each 2 polytagged items – a bottle of Palmolive, with a code printed on the substrate and an aluminium can of Lynx deodorant with the code on a sticker*. Each item had a unique random code that identified them individually, like a fingerprint.
The participants could scan these unique codes with Polytag’s app on their mobile phones once they had consumed the products. The app would give them instructions on how to recycle the product. Over 6 weeks, a Polytag team would collect the recyclables from the participant households, including the items with Polytag’s codes. The materials were then processed and recycled in Polytag’s facility in Deeside. This included a second scan of the polytagged items, marking them as recycled in our system.
The incentive for the households to participate was a donation to a local school.
*Note: since then, and through our partnerships with printing providers, we have found ways to laser etch the codes on aluminium cans at line speeds.
What objectives did the Greasby trial have?
The trial had 3 objectives:
To test Polytag’s platform through a consumer-facing app in a home environment.
Test the concept of a digital DRS system.
Collect qualitative and quantitative data on household recycling patterns and behaviours to assess the technology’s potential.
The trial was a resounding success, with over 91% of the products scanned by participants being recycled by our team at Deeside. The insights collected continue to inform our business model and roadmap.
How was the pilot received by the participants?
The three main reasons that participants felt engaged with the pilot were:
The awareness of the plastic problem and the willingness to do something about it.
The excitement of the adoption of digital technology in recycling.
The donation of money to the local school.
Here are some quotes from the participants:
The McKellar Family
“After seeing the Blue Planet series, as a family we really started to consider what happens to our packaging after use, the Polytag app helped us to better understand how to recycle more efficiently and how we could all contribute to a healthier environment”
The Naylor Family
“We have always enjoyed technology as a family, the Polytag app gave clear and simple instruction on how to recycle each product and having the ability to follow our recycling and reward local schools and community projects is fantastic – the opportunity to unlock and increase recycling rates is certainly a great move, as users of these products we hold that key!”
Mr and Mrs Clements
“There’s always a misconception that the importance of recycling is a generational matter, using an app to better understand how to recycle was initially alien to us. However, it was easy and enjoyable. The collection was prompt and additional funds being made available to local schools for our participation is great”