The term "biodegradable" has been used over the past few years, to describe plastics or packaging that could potentially be metabolized by microorganisms in nature, with complete breakdown to CO2/Methane, water and biomass. However, there is significant confusion and controversy surrounding biodegradable plastics since many suppliers have used the term to loosely describe their material/packaging without specifying the conditions under which the material would degrade in nature. For instance, some plastics (like PLA) will only degrade under industrial composting conditions, while some others (like PHA) can break down under a wider range of conditions and environments (industrial, backyard, marine). Given this widespread confusion and the misuse of the "biodegradable" term, many global government and industry organizations have issued guidelines to restrict or eliminate the unqualified use of biodegradable as a descriptor of plastics or packaging. These include the European Commission guidelines (European Plastics Strategy) and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides in the US.
In line with such guidelines, Ubuntoo's recommends that companies providing biodegradable materials, products or packaging:
1.Avoid unqualified use of the term "biodegradable" to describe their products
2.Any claim of biodegradability should be accompanied by a description of specific conditions and environments under which the material or product will undergo degradation in nature
3.It is strongly recommended that companies provide globally accepted certifications or testing for various biodegradability claims (such as the BPA certification for industrial composting)
Further in line with the position articulated by the European Commission as well as major CPG companies, Ubuntoo recommends that "biodegradable" plastics should not be considered a solution for littering (or worse a license to litter). Appropriate collection and end-of-life solutions (such as industrial composting or home composting) need to be put into place to avoid biodegradable plastics ending up as litter in the environment.
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ECO RFID Tag Technology is patented by Stora Enso to print RFID tags on paper instead of plastic materials.
Traditional RFID labels use single-use plastic, including PET plastic, as a substrate. Around 18 billion such plastic-based RFID labels were used worldwide in 2018. The labels are made using chemical etching process.
ECO RFID Tag Technology prints the RFID labels on paper-based materials and without chemical etching. The label uses fibre-based paper substrate and low-cost conductors. The technology does not need an extra face laminate layer as the antenna paper substrate acts as a face material. The thin label reduces material, production and shipping costs.
The ECO RFIDs are printed in an additive process under one roof and can be printed close to where the labels are to be pasted, reducing transportation emissions and costs. The company also offers options on adhesives such as food-safe and re-pulpable pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA). The fibre-based substrate can be made tamper-proof and is re-pulpable.
The ECO-printed labels follow industry standards for temperature and humidity (IEC 60068-2-6), temperature cycling (JESD22-A104-B) and for tag bending. They follow global frequency regulations. The tags support UCODE 8 and Monza R6 technologies.
Stora Enso offers different RFID products using the ECO technology such as:
ECO Bumper for supply chain, retail and industrial applications.
ECO Hanger, which is optimised for retail and apparel tagging.
ECO Hook, which can be used by retailers as hangtags on different products.
ECO Stripe, an anti-tamper label for metal and other hard-to-tag applications such as in the pharmaceutical industry.
ECO Rack for item-level tagging and retail applications. It complies with Auburn Radio Compliance (ARC) categories A, B, C, D, F, G, I, K, M, N, and Q.
In April 2019, ECO RFID Tag Technology won the Best Product Award on Printed Electronics from IDTechEx.