RFID Enabling Green Initiatives: AIM Global

WARRENDALE, Pa.—The use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies in green applications is a promising market segment, and consumers will see increased use of RFID in environmentally friendly programs over the next 18 months, according to AIM Global.

AIM Global pointed to several applications of RFID that are currently being used to advance numerous city, county and state environmental programs, including the monitoring of vehicle emissions, the collection of recyclable materials, the reuse of packaging resources and electronic parts and the disposal of electronic waste.

“In addition, RFID continues to provide greater visibility into the supply chain by helping companies more efficiently track and manage inventories, thereby reducing unnecessary transportation requirements and fuel usage,” according to AIM Global.

The organization noted that RFID is being used to monitor vehicle emissions at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. An RFID tag is embedded in a decal that is placed on the windshield if the vehicle passes the city’s emissions test, said AIM Global. A handheld reader is then used to check vehicles on the road. The application will continue beyond the Olympics to help reduce pollution in the city.

In addition, RFID has been used to identify electronic subcomponents of PCs, mobile phones and other consumer electronics products to increase the reuse of these parts and reduce electronic waste. RFID tags are also being used to identify packaging materials and enable automated garbage sorting to turn waste into raw material.

AIM Global also noted that RFID labeling technology currently being tested on 3,000 reusable plastic containers used to ship produce from three states to Wal-Mart stores in Texas. The testing is being conducted to ensure that the RFID labels and tags can withstand multiple shipment cycles and effectively be reused.

Several U.S. states are also using recycling bins with embedded RFID chips. The bins are scanned and weighed at the curb, and households get credits for recycling.

"While RFID has been around for over half a century, we continue to see innovative and timely applications for the technology, particularly with environmentally friendly programs administered by nonprofits and government agencies," says Dan Mullen, president of AIM Global. "Clearly, these examples of green applications powered by RFID are just a few important ways in which RFID is contributing to environmental conservation."

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