A plastic item, such as a beverage bottle, can convey two distinct digital watermarks, encoded using two distinct signaling protocols. A first, printed label watermark conveys a retailing payload, including a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) used by a point-of-sale scanner in a retail store to identify and price the item when presented for checkout. A second, plastic texture watermark may convey a recycling payload, including data identifying the composition of the plastic. The use of two different signaling protocols assures that a point-of-sale scanner will not spend its limited time and computational resources working to decode the recycling watermark, which may lack data needed for retail checkout. In some embodiments, a recycling apparatus makes advantageous use of both types of watermarks to identify the plastic composition of the item (e.g., relating GTIN to plastic type using an associated database), thereby increasing the fraction of items that are correctly identified...

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