PragmatIC Semiconductor leads project to increase the value of plastic waste

Improving recovery through digitising waste sorting using PragmatIC‘s ultra-low-cost RFID.

PragmatIC Semiconductor, a world leader in flexible electronics, is delighted to announce that it is working on an Innovate UK, Manufacturing Made Smarter project to increase the quality of plastic recyclate. In the project, code-named SORT‑IT, packaging will be given unique digital IDs to facilitate the tracking and separation of packaging waste in a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

Food and drink packaging manufacturers are struggling to secure enough high-quality, Food Grade PET recyclate (FGPET) to meet their statutory targets for recycled content[i]. This is because even in countries with a good collection infrastructure, like the UK, where household recycling schemes now capture about 45% of municipal waste[ii], the co-mingled nature of the recovered material makes it very difficult to separate the FGPET from other plastics. This results in, at best, downcycling of valuable FGPET, most often to fibre; or in the worse case, losing it to landfill. With the projected demand for rFGPET (recycled FGPET) outstripping present supply[iii], SORT-IT is one of a number of initiatives to increase capture of this material, and if successful this could lead to MRFs being able to grade their plastic output and appropriately price the different bundles efficiently.

“We are excited to be leading another project that will use our technology to have a positive and lasting impact on the sustainability of our planet’s resources,” said Scott White, CEO of PragmatIC Semiconductor. “The problem of circularity is a complex one, and we see embedded electronics has the potential to be activated at multiple points through the life of a package, solving a part of the puzzle at each stage.”

As part of the project, PragmatIC is collaborating with a range of companies in this ecosystem who believe intelligent labels offer interesting possibilities in sorting. “This feasibility study will provide a much needed proof point for the Return on Investment (ROI) of sorting using RFID” said Bobby Manesh, Research Lead at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru (AMRC). “With the data gained we expect to be able to take this project forward to larger scale deployments with partners in 2022.”

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About PragmatIC Semiconductor

PragmatIC Semiconductor is a world leader in ultra-low-cost flexible electronics. Our unique technology platform enables innovators to create novel solutions to everyday problems that are beyond the scope of conventional electronics. Our ConnectIC® family of flexible integrated circuits (FlexICs) are thinner than a human hair and extend proven applications such as RFID and NFC into mass market use cases, enabling the potential for trillions of smart objects that can engage with consumers and their environments. Our novel, differentiated products are being adopted by a growing base of global companies across diverse markets, including consumer goods, games, retail, pharmaceutical and security. Alternatively, designers can create their own application-specific flexible devices using our FlexIC Foundry® offering at a fraction of the cost and time required for traditional silicon circuits, opening up multiple new markets beyond RFID. These FlexICs are manufactured on our revolutionary FlexLogIC® production system, a highly scalable manufacturing model for cost-effective high-volume production, achieved with orders of magnitude less capital investment and operating cost compared to a traditional silicon IC fab. PragmatIC is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with our first billion-unit production facility in Sedgefield. Shareholders include Cambridge Innovation Capital, Arm and Avery Dennison.

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