With many companies adopting eco-friendly solutions, an Italian company has created radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards and smart cards in biodegradable PVC.
Gabrio Mechetti, card sales manager for Partitalia srl, a company that produces smart cards, tags and RFID cards, says the material is a degradable PVC chemical.
"It is characterized by the addition of additives that accelerate degradation in microbe-rich environments," says Mechetti. "Otherwise, the RFID chip is not degradable, and it must be disposed of differently."
The biodegradable cards are in high demand. On one hand, cards are in great demand (credit cards, access control badges, gift cards and loyalty cards used in the retail and large-scale distribution sector), and on the other hand, a growing number of companies want cards made of biodegradable PVC to aim for the eco-sustainability of their products and to comply with European guidelines.
Because of this demand, Partitalia is focusing on all products with a short lifecycle, such as loyalty cards, gift cards and hotel cards.
"At the start of the new millennium, the European PVC industry signed up to the 10-year Vinyl 2010 program, and, in 2011, VinylPlus got off the ground; that is, the new PVC sustainable development plan that involves Europe and sees the participation of around 200 partner companies representing the sector. This has prompted us to launch a research and development (R&D) project on the materials used to print the cards at our factory," said Luca Del Col Balletto, CEO of Partitalia srl, in a statement.
The new R&D team was born to study innovative materials, inching one step closer to a circular economy.
"So, through technical laboratory and ecosystem compatibility trials, this team develops products that comply with the rules of the circular economy and are closer to the needs of the market. For this reason, our portfolio covers all market requests," says Mechetti.
With more than 20 years in the information and communications technology sector, Partitalia works with offset printers and customization machinery, encoding and embedding machines in its production facility. Partitalia is concentrating on innovation in two areas: production optimized with robots and remote control systems and product development through concrete responses to the current needs.
"The environmental impact of degradable PVC is certainly less than traditional material. We are working to create an eco-friendly work chain," says Mechetti. "We aim to achieve greater recyclability through separate collection. In this kind of scenario, it is necessary to work with different waste treatment plants for each material."
Partitalia adopted a sustainable plan aimed to revamp the range of the products, according to the European regulation and following the Green Paper "Environmental problems of PVC" presented by the European Commission in Brussels in June 2000. These biodegradable cards are part of that plan.
"This journey we have set out on will continue over the coming two years—innovative services will be developed, eco-compatible products will be studied and bespoke solutions will be proposed with the aim of simplifying the industry processes. With the development of these technologies, we will have further evidence in the near future," says Mechetti.