£1.3m for flexible electronics in UK recycling pilot scheme

Cambridge-based flexible electronics company PragmatIC has been awarded a £1.3m by the UK Government Sustainable Innovation Fund for a recycling scheme based on NFC tags.

“PragmatIC consider this to be a commercial pilot, with the next step being commercial rollouts with global partners,” company chief commercial officer Alastair Hanlon told Electronics Weekly.

In the year-long scheme, called Sprite (sustainable plastics recycling innovation by tagging electronically) drinks bottles and refillable packaging will be given unique digital IDs to support automated identification and recycling.

“PragmatIC will deliver a system that works alongside existing return and recycling schemes and uses low-cost NFC to uniquely identify packaging so that consumers can collect rewards anywhere using a network of smart recycling points and their existing kerbside recycling collections,” according to the company. “The project 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.”

Up to a million printed electronic tags – branded ‘FlexICs’ – will be involved, and the company will development reader hardware and software for the field trials.

Project partners have yet to be named.

PragmatIC Semiconductor has production in Sedgefield County Durham. Its technology is suited to making RFID and NFC tags.

Shareholders include Cambridge Innovation Capital, Arm and Avery Dennison. Its website is here