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 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 singleuse 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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