A Spanish, awarded for his project for the recycling of RFID tags

21 Oct.,2022


This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Un español, premiado por su proyecto para el reciclado de etiquetas RFID

Identiplast 2009 honors Carlos Lopez for his analysis on the impact of radio frequency identification tags

A Spanish, awarded for his project for the recycling of RFID tags

Drafting PU


This year, the Identiplast Congress, held in April in Brussels, incorporated a new incentive for students from all over Europe, who were asked to submit new ideas for the intelligent recycling and recovery of plastics. A Scientific Committee selected six works of submissions, which had opportunity to showcase their panels at Identiplast. The vote of those attending the Congress as winner gave the Spanish student Carlos López, by Itene analysis on the impact of identification tags radiofrequency (RFID in its acronym in English) in the recycling of plastics.

The technology of identification by radio frequency (in its RFID acronym in English), is an electronic method that allows you to assign an identification code to a product, and use that code to identify or access additional information about the same.

Currently, RFID tags are beginning to enter the market, so that they will replace barcode in the near future.

Unlike barcodes, these new tags are formed by a chip, an antenna and a substrate where they are stuck together with an adhesive. These components are usually made of aluminum or copper for the antenna, silicon chip and paper with adhesive for support. However, these constituents can become an impediment to managing plastic packaging, since that RFID tags will be attached to products remained United until the end of life.

From left to right: Francisco Cimadevilla, CEO of PlasticsEurope in Spain, Carlos Lopez, winner of the prize and Jean-Pierre of Grève, Deputy Executive Director of PlasticsEurope.

However, when studies have been conducted relating to the feasibility of RFID technology, exists none currently analysing the impact that may have these devices in existing systems of management of waste from plastic containers.

For this reason, the main objective of this paper is to identify and analyse the constraints that the components of RFID tags may cause in the existing systems of management of waste from plastic containers.

To this end, the work is divided into three phases:

(1) Identification of the components of RFID tags with a greater presence in the market.

(2) Study and analysis of the systems of collection and processing of the plastic containers in Spain.

(3) Identification of possible obstacles.

One solution would be the replacement of the components of RFID tags for others such as for example the use of technology of electronic conductive inks

The main impediments were found in the process of mechanical recycling of plastics. Specifically, at the stage of washing or centrifugation, the plastic is often washed in caustic soda (NaOH), so that to ensure the Elimination of traces of aluminum. However, the RFID tag antenna consists of this metal, reacting with soda and generating hydrogen.

Hydrogen is an explosive gas, so it be fed many labels to the process, must be controlled reaction.

On the other hand, the other found impediment focuses on the final stage of the recycling of plastics, extrusion. In it, the material is heated up to its melting temperature, normally between 100-320 ° C depending on the material to be treated. This temperature is significantly lower than the melting point of the constituents of the RFID tags (> 1000 ° C), which is why, for example, Silicon not be melting, being present in the final product, generating discontinuities in the recycled plastic and affecting the mechanical properties of the samecommercial use to be unworkable.

However, to avoid these impediments, proposed different solutions, such as the replacement of the components of RFID tags for others that are compatible with the management of the waste, as for example the use of technology of electronic conductive inks (Thin Film Transistors) that are currently in phase of research, either the design of filtration systems with a mesh size smaller than to ensure the retention of the harmful to the process components.

This project is part of the results achieved in the framework of the 'project of enhancing the competitiveness of the Spanish business sector through the logistics as a strategic factor in a global-GLOBALOG environment', within the national Transmodal subprogramme, funded by the Ministry of education and Science (number of file PES-370500-2007-1).