PragmatIC‘s ultra-low-cost RFID to enable rewarding recycling and packaging re-use

PragmatIC, a world leader in flexible electronics, has been awarded a £1.3 million contract from the UK Government Sustainable Innovation Fund for a state-of-the-art recycling scheme based on PragmatIC’s ultra-low-cost NFC technology. In an initiative code-named SPRITE (Sustainable Plastics Recycling Innovation by Tagging Electronically), PET bottles and refillable packaging will be given unique digital IDs to support automated identification and recycling.

Worldwide more than one million plastic bottles are made per minute and less than 10% of those are collected and turned into new bottles; the rest are landfilled, incinerated or are littered, polluting the environment. Deposit return schemes are already well proven to increase recycling rates, with leading systems recovering over 90% of the containers which have a deposit on them. But these are built around returning bottles back to grocery stores and require well-developed, and often rigid, state or nationwide processes to be in place.

Under SPRITE, PragmatIC will deliver a system that works alongside existing return and recycling schemes and uses ultra-low-cost NFC to uniquely identify Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) packaging so that consumers can collect rewards anywhere using a network of smart recycling points and their existing kerbside recycling collections. The project will also demonstrate the use of NFC to enhance refillable packaging models, where it can be used to encourage re-use and also provide the merchant with actionable data. Studies have shown that access to re-use and recycling opportunities is one of the key drivers for changing public behaviour.

Scott White, CEO of PragmatIC Semiconductor said:

“We are thrilled to have won this contract which furthers our mission to enable electronic solutions that improve everyday life. This is one of a number of initiatives where customers are using our technology to have a positive and lasting impact on the sustainability of our planet’s resources.”

As part of the project, PragmatIC will be working with leading global FMCG companies, who see NFC labels as a route to frictionless consumer engagement in recycling and in particular enabling refillable packaging models. And now PragmatIC’s technology makes NFC more affordable for these high volume FMCG applications.