Keywords: RFID tagging, radio frequency identification, packaging waste, recycling, waste management, ubiquitous computing, green IT, Germany
Impacts of item-level RFID on packaging waste recycling: exploratory study of the industry?s expectations in Germany
This paper deals with the implications of widespread item-level RFID tagging for the recycling of packaging waste. We first summarise possible positive and negative effects discussed in the relevant literature. We then present the results of an empirical study among organisations dealing with packaging production and packaging recycling in Germany. The results show that both packaging producers and recyclers acknowledge that widespread item-level RFID would have severe consequences for packaging recycling systems. Even though the respondents partly share the concerns raised in the scientific literature, they also appreciate the potential of RFID-based data for recycling processes. There was a remarkable similarity between these results for the two groups of respondents. However, there is no consensus regarding the overall consequences. Strong impacts are expected, but it is largely unclear whether these will overall be more positive or more negative. This demonstrates the need for future research in this evolving field.