A KEIGHLEY company is pioneering the use of digital watermarking technology on its products.

Food packaging manufacturer PFF Group says the move is designed to enable more accurate sorting of waste and increase recycling rates.

The watermark, on the surface of the packaging, contains information about the product's 'journey' – including the manufacturer, plastic type, composition and usage.

It's hoped that through using high-resolution cameras at waste sorting facilities to read the details, greater recycling goals will be achieved.

The venture is part of a trial that aims to prove the technical and economic viability of 'intelligent sorting'.

Over 130 companies and organisations are supporting the trial, which is being overseen by AIM European Brands Association and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

PFF has already invested heavily in systems to boost its sustainable packaging operations.

Recently it introduced new £200,000 technology which reduced its carbon emissions by five per cent. And the company launched a groundbreaking fully-recyclable product, IMPAC-T, which uses less plastic than equivalent packaging and is suitable for all food applications.

Group sales director, Ian Smith, says: "Innovation and digital are the core drivers towards sustainability.

"At PFF we take our carbon zero commitments seriously, as evidenced by our continued investment in new processes to engineer plastic out of products.

"The watermark technology provides a digital record of a product’s journey and has an important role to play in helping to achieve recycling targets and in making the use of recycled polypropylene in food applications a reality."

The firm's commitment to the environment has been recognised by Operation Clean Sweep, an international initiative that aims to ensure plastics don't end up in waterways. Plus, PFF is a member of the NEXTLOOPP global scheme, which is helping to deliver the world’s first commercially-available recycled high-quality polypropylene.

It is also a member of Made in Britain, which champions UK manufacturing.

Earlier this year, PFF installed a new transport management system at its Royd Ings Avenue headquarters, designed to improve deliveries to customers and reduce the company's carbon footprint.

The web-based software – delivered by 3T Logistics and Technology Group – meant loads destined for similar locations could be consolidated, cutting vehicle journeys. The technology is also in operation at the firm's site at Washington, Tyne and Wear.

PFF is one of the UK’s largest independent food packaging producers, supplying products to supermarkets and multi-national food manufacturers across the country.