Can Printed Organic Electronics Save the Potentially Unholy Marriage of RFID Tags and Recyclable Glass Bottles?

IGZO

Now that you’ve finally finished reading the excessively long headline, let me welcome any new readers — there was a pleasantly surprising jump in feed subscribers after the last post.

Moving onward… did you know that there is a Glass Packaging Institute (GPI)? I had no idea until today.

I came across this warning for RFID’s use with recyclable glass bottles on the Institute’s website:

GPI’s concern is with the number of tags that may enter the recycling stream affixed to glass bottles and what metals will be present at what concentrations.

The problem is that even small amounts of metals can contaminate molten glass during recycling and cause degraded quality. If you’ve ever toured a glass plant (I highly recommend it), you know they can require a ridiculous amount of energy to power their furnaces. The last thing you want is to pour energy/money into a process that’s going to produce preventable scrap.

To be honest, I never really pictured tagging glass products. For some reason, my mind is glued to the idea of tagging plastic containers (when it comes to food & beverages). Maybe I just don’t buy enough stuff in glass anymore. (Sorry GPI)

However, I wonder whether RFID tags based on printed organic electronics would be a suitable solution and sidestep the GPI’s concerns. Several companies (e.g. ORFID, OrganicID) and universities (e.g. GeorgiaTech, Berkeley) have been developing this technology in pursuit of the cheapest, most ubiquitous RFID tag possible.

Question: would printed organic-based RFID tags still be enough of a contaminant to prevent their use with glass recyclables?

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