Flexible RFID chip maker PragmatIC has received a £1.3m (€1.5m) for a state-of-the-art waste recycling scheme in the UK based on its low cost tracking technology.
The SPRITE (Sustainable Plastics Recycling Innovation by Tagging Electronically) project will see PET plastic bottles and refillable packaging given unique digital IDs to support automated identification and recycling.
Over a million plastic bottles are made every minute around the world but less than 10 percent of them are collected and turned into new bottles; the rest are landfilled, incinerated or become litter. Deposit return schemes are already well proven to increase recycling rates, with leading systems recovering over 90 percent 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 and lead partner Zinergy in Cambridge will deliver a system that works alongside existing return and recycling schemes and uses ultra-low-cost NFC to 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, which is backed by the UK Government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund, 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.
“We are thrilled to have won this contract which furthers our mission to enable electronic solutions that improve everyday life,” said Scott White, CEO of PragmatIC Semiconductor. “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