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RFID tags pose a threat to glass recycling

The British Glass Manufacturers Confederation (BGMC) is to work with stakeholders to discuss the impact of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology on the recyclability of glass.

As costs fall, items such as spirits and cosmetics are likely to be among the first to use RFID tags to help with stock control and shoplifting.

British Glass technical manager Pete Grayhurst said: "The core of the RFID matter is that tags contain silicon chips. If the silicon stays with the glass through the recycling chain and into the glass furnace it melts at a different rate to the glass, which can result in silicon 'balls' in new packaging."

These 'balls' are potential weak spots, especially in pressurized containers.
Currently, RFID tags are applied using very strong adhesive, meaning they would be difficult to remove in the conventional glass recycling process.

They are also likely to break into small pieces, making them hard to detect, while it only takes a small amount of material in a glass furnace to cause discolouring.

Grayhurst added: "One possible solution would be to incorporate RFID devices into caps, something which has already been suggested."

"This would give all parties the chance to make the most of the benefits of RFID while keeping costs, waste and environmental impact to a minimum."

The BGMC will now work with stakeholders throughout the supply chain to find a way around the problem before use of RFID tags on primary packaging becomes widespread.

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