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Blogs - June 15, 2021

Creating a more sustainable future

Josh Young

At Pragmatic Semiconductor we are dedicated to creating a more sustainable future and our team are proud to be involved in a range of circular economy projects leveraging our cutting-edge flexible electronics. In this blog post, our Circular Economy Market Development Manager, Joshua Young, explains more.

Novel technology projects enable circularity and waste reduction

It’s Circular Economy Week and in less than 6 months the UK will host the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference. At Pragmatic we want our technology to make a positive contribution to the environment, and to ensure that our planet’s resources are valued and re-used. Our ultra-low-cost flexible integrated circuits allow digital item-level traceability of everyday goods – something simply not possible with conventional silicon electronics. Being able to uniquely identify individual items enables circularity.

Over the last few years, the Pragmatic team has been part of a number of pioneering projects focused on improving environmental outcomes. Our work with waste tech company Topolytics on the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) project to trial the UK’s first comprehensive digital waste tracking solution with the Tyre Recovery Association has extended into a second phase. And we are very excited about the potential for food waste reduction thanks to the innovative technology being developed with our partners such as Arm in the PlasticArmPit e-nose project.

Next generation Deposit Reward Scheme

Our recently announced sustainability project known as SPRITE (Sustainable Plastics Recycling Innovation by Tagging Electronically), involves some great partners, including leading FMCG brands. The aim is to deliver a state-of-the-art recycling scheme that uses our ultra-low-cost flexible electronics and RFID/NFC technology to uniquely identify packaging so that consumers can collect rewards whenever and wherever. Smart bins at-home and on-the-go, that complement Deposit Return Schemes (DRSs), to increase recycling. A next generation smart recycling bin system that gives the consumer credits for how much is collected – an extension of the reverse vending machines (RVMs). Promoting positive behaviour rather than the negative ‘pay as you throw’ schemes. We will also enable re-use and re-fill models, which are key in reducing the amount of packaging used.

Furthermore, Pragmatic’s novel flexible electronics and RFID could be used for helping to sort the waste when it reaches municipal facilities. By improving the quality of the recyclate from material recovery centres, we will ensure more packaging can be returned back to its original purpose instead of being down-cycled or landfilled. Rather than relying on traditional barcodes, which are printed on labels and are often problematic for systems to read, RFID is more reliable and makes it possible to mass identify items quickly in these high-volume environments.

What’s next?

Pragmatic is passionate about seeing our technology used to enable solutions that improve everyday life, and we look forward to announcing more news about other sustainability projects in the near future.

To learn more about Pragmatic’s commitment to sustainability read more here.


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