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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is linked to waste management and recycling in two complementary ways: as objects, tags contain a variety of materials whose management and recycling is desirable on environmental grounds. These materials vary with the type of tag and their significance will increase as tags become more pervasive. On the other hand, tags can themselves contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of recycling at various stages in the lifecycles of a wide range of products ranging from simple materials to complex objects containing a variety of materials.

The study, funded by the European Commission, aims to inform policy making by assessing the environmental impact of the RFID tags themselves as well as the environmental advantages that the use of RFID can provide to product lifecycle management. An integral goal is to identify the associated obstacles and needs for policy action and/or research activity.

This Report is the final deliverable of the project, presenting the findings of our research. The study, led by RAND Europe and conducted in partnership with the Department of Processing and Recycling at RWTH Aachen University and P3 Ingenieurgesellschaft, applies a number of different quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including systematic literature reviews, key informant interviews, use cases and case study analysis, and scenario development.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Directorate-General Communications Networks, Content and Technology of the European Commission and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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