Label-Free Coding For PET Bottles Reduces Plastic Waste

August 10, 2023

A Cambridge company is currently working with leading global beverage brands to improve recyclability by developing sustainable coding solutions for PET bottles.


Domino Printing is exploring innovative ways to remove the need for labels, a development which is rapidly gaining popularity among drinks manufacturers as they can interfere with the recycling process and lead to bottles creating plastic waste.


The company is harnessing technologies from its own range of laser and high-definition ink coding systems to create alternative approaches to meet regulatory labelling requirements and provide necessary information for consumers.

There are also regional labelling considerations and individual brand specifications to factor into the equation.

Solutions include lasers which can be used to mark directly on PET bottles, with product data such as ingredients, batch codes, and other graphics and text. The suitability of different laser types will depend on individual brand parameters, including: the beverage being bottled, as well as the thickness and the percentage of recycled PET.


It is also possible to print directly on bottle caps which can be done alongside laser coding to provide complementary text, graphics, or scannable codes for point-of-sale and consumer-facing applications. Cap-printing solutions will vary, depending on the cap material and colour, the code requirement – text, graphic, 2D code – and the stage in the production process when the caps will be coded.


Russell Wiseman, Head of Global Beverage Solutions, Domino Printing says: “When a PET beverage bottle ends up in a recycling plant, the label attached to it isn’t usually recycled. In fact, external labels can sometimes interfere with the usual processes and lead to bottles being removed from the recycling stream.

“For bottles sold in multipacks, it may be possible to include compulsory labelling on secondary packaging, removing the need for coding on individual bottles, but bottles sold individually are somewhat more challenging. That’s why we are working with leading beverage players to explore alternative ways to enhance sustainability.”