PulpaTronics develops more sustainable radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags are electronic circuits embedded in products for item tracking. Our simplified RFID tag design eliminates metal mining, streamlines manufacturing and reduces environmental impact. The paper-only tags allow for recycling while reducing the price tenfold. Our technology makes RFID tags more accessible, helps retailers achieve sustainability goals, and empowers customers to confidently dispose of RFID tags.
PulpaTronics has redefined paper RFID tags. RFID tags are simple electronic circuits that enable product identification and tracking through radio signals. The technology is widely adopted in commerce, transportation and logistics, as it has helped drastically improve accuracy and efficiency. In retail, RFID tags are embedded in clothing price tags to help with inventory management, theft prevention and checkout. Ever wondered how your clothes magically scan onto the cash register at an auto-checkout store? RFID technology is what enables this to happen.
However, every year in the fashion industry alone, more than 12 billion RFID tags are produced for single use. These tags comprise a microchip and metal antenna, meaning that they are extremely resource intensive and costly to make. What is more, consumers are also unknowingly contributing to increasing amounts of e-waste as these tags usually end up in landfills.
PulpaTronics has developed chipless, carbon-based paper RFID tags. These novel tags do not require metal extraction, they are cheaper and are compatible with existing recycling. The innovative technology laser-induces a conductive circuit directly onto paper. This approach streamlines the manufacturing process, eliminates the need for metal and silicon components, and significantly reduces the environmental footprint of RFID tag production as a result.
The encoded information is stored in the geometric pattern of the conductive material rather than in a microchip, which allows for fewer manufacturing steps and less energy required overall. These tags are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 70% and cut costs in half. By using more sustainable materials like locally sourced paper, PulpaTronics has made sustainability a core aspect of its mission and promotes circularity.
The technology has been validated at a near-field communication lab at Imperial College London, where the paper-based prototypes matched the performance of copper baseline prototypes.
PulpaTronics has the potential to reshape the RFID industry while making the technology more sustainable at the same time. The introduction of a new symbol for recyclable RFID tags can encourage more environmentally-conscious choices among customers, help customers dispose of the tags with confidence, and might even influence product labeling policies in the future.
PulpaTronics is disrupting the RFID industry with its sustainable and cost-effective RFID tags. Our big vision is to replace all single-use electronics with our technology, and we're starting with simplifying over-engineered RFID tags first, one tag at a time.