Why use plastic smart cards when there’s a sustainable card solution that works just as well, yet with a fraction of the carbon footprint? Here’s some information to help you make the shift.
A contactless smart card is the size of a credit card and it normally contains a chip that determines its function and an antenna that receives and transmits information. Smart cards sometimes use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to transmit information to transponders or readers.
RFID is frequently used, for example, in supply chains and logistics to track stock levels. NFC (Near Field Communication) is another technique that works on shorter ranges than RFID and these cards must be held closer to a reader to function. The chip and antenna vary greatly depending on the functionality required for a specific application. These applications or end uses include gift cards, loyalty program cards, key cards, transport tickets, event cards or payment.
Smart cards are often made of plastic and include aluminium antennas, but paperboard cards are on the rise in the efforts to improve sustainability and cut down on plastic waste. Today, there are sustainable alternatives to using aluminium antennas as well.
For a truly recyclable card, the smart card’s antenna can be printed using connective inks and silver on a cellulose base. This technique is becoming increasingly common and laminating it onto Invercote ensures a product that is recyclable and plastic-free.
Holmen Iggesund has tested the printed and finished cards on Invercote and found that 94.3 per cent* of the fibre content remained after the card had been repulped. This means it can enter into the paperboard recycling stream and the fibres can be used to make another product.
Paperboard cards are produced using 100 per cent natural materials and are therefore fully recyclable and biodegradable. Plastics like PVC only decompose upon burning, and emit toxic vapours in the process. This is a strong argument for giving up plastic smart cards.
At the same time, there’s no need to sacrifice quality when designing sustainable cards. Contactless smart cards made from Invercote paperboard have a premium look and feel, similar to plastic and are long-lasting. Holmen Iggesund’s Invercote is produced at a mill that is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management standards and ISO 9001 quality management standards. It also sources its raw materials from forests that plant more trees than it harvests – all the more reason to make the switch from plastic to paperboard from Holmen Iggesund.
The Production of paperboard cards starts with high quality paperboard of the preferred thickness. The board is printed and converted depending on the customer specifications. As with any converting the surface can be altered with different finishing techniques. The most common finish would be varnish to protect the surface or give it a glossy or matt surface. Varnish and spot varnish can also be used to highlight specific features in the design or create a ‘soft-touch’ surface. The design can be altered further with, for example, foiling and embossing or debossing.
After the card is made, it is cut out with a sharp stance or cut roller depending on the technique used by the specific card producer.
It is important to select a converter that is familiar with paperboard converting and the many possibilities for the finished cards. Contact Holmen Iggesund for tips and ideas regarding whom to turn to or order printed samples of the card.
One way to become more sustainable is to make the switch from plastic packaging to something that has less climate impact. We’ve picked out seven reasons why we think paperboard ticks all the boxes when it comes to sustainability. Submit your email address to download our guide.
Most cards are made of plastics like PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). There are also cards made of other materials such as aluminium and, increasingly, cards are being made from paperboard.
Just by switching materials you would reduce the CO2 by 95 per cent. Using Holmen Iggesund’s official figures, a card would generate 0.55 grams of CO2 per card, whilst a card made from PVC would generate 11.4 grams of CO2 per card.
There are three important parameters to consider: the right paperboard quality, the right converter and the right technique. The best way to start is to contact someone with experience in producing or designing sustainable cards. We can help with recommendations, connect with us on https://www.iggesund.com/cards-support
Yes. There have been many paperboard cards out on the market for a long time and they are strong enough for most applications.
A contactless smart card is a card with functionality inside it. This normally comprises integrated circuits that can store and communicate data with a terminal by ‘tapping’. Contactless smart cards are usually the size of a credit card and have a wave-like symbol. The level of security and data processing ability is steered by the kind of NFC (Near Field Communication) chip and antenna that is used. Most of us have used this kind of card to ride the subway or as a hotel key card for example.
Yes, when using a plastic-free technique and printed antenna. Our study shows that 94.3 per cent fibre content remains after repulping. When using a plastic-free solution with an aluminium antenna (laser cut) the fibre content is reduced to 87.6 per cent. This is still within the acceptable recycling limit of 80 per cent fibre content. The recycling requires a de-inking process to achieve pure pulp.