Pragmatic Semiconductor leads project to digitise reusable packaging
Ultra-low-cost NFC enables practical solutions that will accelerate adoption of new packaging models
Pragmatic Semiconductor, a world leader in flexible electronics, is excited to be leading an Innovate UK, Smart Sustainability Plastic Packaging business project that will make reusable plastic packaging systems a reality at scale. The project code-named TRACE (Technology-enabled Reusable Assets for a Circular Economy) will use Pragmatic’s ultra-low-cost NFC technology to give reusable containers unique digital identities (UIDs) so that the packages can be efficiently and effectively returned and reused.
The UIDs will be used throughout the lifecycle of the packages: firstly, by all the actors in the supply chain to track each item and provide detailed data that will demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits; and secondly, by the consumer to access their deposits or rewards, thereby building enduring relationships with brands and retailers.
Reusable models present a significant opportunity to reduce waste and its impact on the environment. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has estimated that at least 20% of single use plastic packaging could be replaced with a reusable alternative and converting to reuse models could be a USD 10 billion business opportunity. By taking a systematic view to reusable packaging, TRACE will develop new digital innovations across the complete cycle of recapture, sorting, cleaning and back-to-use of these assets, enabling new models for packaging-as-a-service.
“As packaging is the dominant generator of plastic waste, we are continuously looking for ways in which we can use our technology to reduce that impact,” said Scott White, CEO of Pragmatic. “TRACE brings together leading academic and industry expertise to prove that reuse at scale will deliver significant benefits to the planet. This is why leading global packaging companies are working with us to accelerate the path to intelligent packaging”
“We have recently seen the commitment from global brands to move towards more reusable packaging,” commented Tyler Chaffo, Global Sustainability Manager, Avery Dennison Smartrac. “The TRACE project will address the major barriers in making reuse a reality, by treating packaging-as-a-service through item-level digitalisation using Pragmatic’s ultra-low-cost NFC technology”.
Pragmatic is delighted to be working with the following well-known academic and industry partners in the TRACE project: RECOUP, Topolytics, University of Sheffield, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Ken Mills Engineering.
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About Pragmatic Semiconductor
Pragmatic Semiconductor is a leader in semiconductor innovation, creating ultra low cost, ultra thin, flexible integrated circuits (‘electronic chips’).
Pragmatic’s chip is produced without silicon, using thin-film semiconductors to create flexible integrated circuits that are thinner than a human hair, and are significantly cheaper and faster to produce than silicon chips. This provides a compelling alternative for many mainstream electronics applications, as well as enabling new applications not possible with silicon.
Pragmatic’s chips can be embedded into almost anything, bringing connectivity and intelligence to everyday objects. Example applications include radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communications (NFC) giving objects unique digital identities as well as enabling objects to interact with their environment. This has benefits across the entire product lifecycle, including inventory reduction, traceability, counterfeit detection, proof of provenance, and customer interaction. Pragmatic’s technology can also be used to help reduce food waste, improve the return and recycling of single use packaging, and enable item-level traceability within a universal system for recapture, sorting, cleaning, and return.
Our foundry service uniquely allows agile hardware design, exponentially accelerating solution development and time-to-market. Examples include proprietary RFID protocols, time/temperature indicators, fingerprint sensors, wearable smart patches for healthcare, flexible display drivers, and novel microprocessor architectures.
We also offer a Fab-as-a-Service model that enables secure, dependable, localised semiconductor supply through manufacturing directly on a customer’s site. This highly scalable distributed production allows cost effective, high-volume fabrication of flexible integrated circuits.
Pragmatic is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with our first fab operating in Sedgefield, and a second fab under construction at our new 15-acre Pragmatic Park site in Durham.
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