Biodegradable RFID tags may be an interesting and timely idea, but are they feasible? Smartrac N.V, a manufacturer of ready-made and custom RFID inlays and transponders, is determined to find out. Research is under way at the Rotterdam, Netherlands-based company to develop biodegradable production materials for the tags.
Current RFID transponders are usually made from polymer substrates, a metal antenna, and a silicon chip, with the various layers joined by adhesives. But these materials tend not to be biodegradable, which has sparked concerns about the tags' disposal if tag use takes off the way some have predicted.
Smartrac wants to develop biodegradable and easily recycled transponder substrates and encapsulation materials before that happens. "As a leading RFID transponder manufacturer with the largest single production capacity in the industry, we feel that it is our duty to also take a leading role with regard to the implementation of biodegradable production materials," said Chief Technology Officer Manfred Rietzler in a statement.
The manufacturer's R&D department is working with several technology institutes in Bangkok, Thailand, on the project. Smartrac is also in discussions about green materials with substrate and chemical manufacturers.