Biodegradable PVC cards and R&D on green materials

Partitalia produces RFID cards and eco-sustainable smart cards.

Partitalia srl, Italian company operating in the ICT sector since 2001, produces and markets smart cards, tags and RFID readers throughout Europe. Since January 2020, it has expanded its product range to include RFID cards and smart cards in biodegradable PVC thanks to the work of a new R&D team dedicated to the study of innovative materials and, through technical laboratory and ecosystem compatibility trials, it develops products that comply with the rules of the circular economy and are closer to the needs of the market.

Market trend

While, on one hand, cards are in great demand (think of the mass diffusion of credit cards, access control badges, gift cards and loyalty cards used in the retail and large-scale distribution sector), 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, with advantages also in marketing terms.

Biodegradable PVC: turning green

Standard PVC, a thermoplastic polymer comprising 57 per cent sea salt and 43 per cent crude oil, has always been the most commonly used material for the production of cards. A resistant and flexible raw material but which has a significant impact on the environment when the time comes for it to be disposed of, as the Green Book “Environmental problems of PVC”, presented by the European Commission in Brussels in June 2020 says: “When PVC waste is incinerated, it generates hydrochloric acid (HCl) in the exhaust gas that has to be neutralised”.

That is, when incinerated, the polymer releases dioxins and other organochlorides into the atmosphere. Therefore, Partitalia’s decision to turn green derives from the need to put a less polluting material on the market that better safeguards health. Luca Del Col Balletto, CEO of the company from Lainate explains how the project was born: “At the start of the new millennium, the European PVC industry signed up to the ten year Vinyl 2010 programme 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 & Development project on the materials used to print the cards at our factory.”

Focus on the new PVC and next steps

The chemical composition of biodegradable PVC is characterised by the addition of additives that accelerate degradation in microbe rich environments. These additives are particularly palatable to the micro-organisms normally present in trash that metabolise the substances of which the PVC is made, transforming the polymer into simple molecules (water, carbon dioxide, methane), biomass and inorganic compounds. For this reason, cards made of biodegradable PVC decompose faster than the traditional material, already in the organic fraction. Instead, as regards the technology, the technical performance is the same.

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 4.0 processes.

Source: Partitalia srl





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