British co-operative group Co-op has launched an initiative to collect data on the number of own-brand plastic bottles being recycled.

The trial is being carried out in partnership with Polytag, a technology business that focuses on the circular economy for packaging.

As part of the initiative, the partners will collect recycling data to determine the exact number of Co-op bottles being sorted at recycling centres.

Co-op will add an ultraviolet (UV) invisible code to the label of its best-selling own-brand spring water lines, which will be identified by specialist equipment at certain recycling centres in North Wales.

The data collected will be uploaded in real-time to the Cloud.

Co-op said the trial will make it the first brand in the world to collect data using this process.

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Co-op Food managing director Matt Hood said: “We all have our part to play when it comes to recycling and, as a retailer, we want to gain a greater understanding on a product’s journey in the recycling chain to help paint a clearer picture and support future traceability.

“This new trial will enable Co-op to gather valuable insight to provide guidance and measurement for future initiatives to encourage more people to recycle and it will also support the industry with true benchmarks for recycling rates in the UK for the very first time.”

The partnership comes as Polytag seeks to expedite the launch and deployment of additional UV tag readers across the UK by collaborating with the country’s devolved governments and recycling facility operators.

The trial will begin with Co-op’s 2l still spring water line, with plans to expand to other products in the future.

In June this year, Co-op launched recyclable ice cube packaging made by The Ice Co to replace traditionally used plastic bags.