Smart Cards and ID Cards Go Sustainable as Part of Security Industry’s Overall Push into Environmental Stewardship
Smart cards and ID Cards have become ubiquitous and will likely remain a fixture in the access-control landscape even as mobile IDs reach their tipping point. The convenience of mobile IDs continues to make them an increasingly attractive option, but the physical card will still be required in many applications. This is why their transition to more sustainable card materials is a key element of the security industry’s broader focus on environmental stewardship.
Continuing Role of Physical ID Cards
Mobile IDs will never fully replace physical ID cards, especially in hospitals and other places where it is essential to see a visible card on a clip or lanyard. As an example, healthcare institutions need durable and professional physical healthcare ID cards that enable people to visually identify doctors, nurses, and, in many cases, even patients or visitors. These physical cards can help reassure patients and visitors that a professional wearing a verifiable ID is someone they can trust.
Physical ID cards in the healthcare setting can also be a key element for protecting staff against today’s rise of physical and verbal attacks inside the hospital. The cards can be adapted for duress alerting by inserting them into special badge holders that feature a discreet button for staff – and especially nurses – to push when they want to call for help. These badge holders operate within a real-time location system (RTLS) that makes it possible to know where staff members are in the facility – in real-time – and enable them to signal if they are in danger. An LED on the back of the badge holder will blink and an alert is sent to the cloud when in range of one of the connected gateways that are generally installed across the campus or building. Today’s solutions also enable the hospital to centrally manage one of many possible policy-based workplace violence responses.
In these and other applications, physical cards maintain an important role in security. But they need to be more sustainable.
Transitioning to New Materials
Physical ID cards have begun shifting to more sustainable materials, including environmentally-friendly bamboo certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and TUViT Seal 5. Bamboo is exceptionally fast growing and requires little agricultural intervention like fertilizer or pesticides. It also has low energy consumption and CO2 emissions during processing.
Another big benefit of bamboo is that it reduces the plastic and consumables waste of the hundreds of millions of plastic cards that are sold annually. Each plastic card weighs 5 grams and has a carbon footprint of 21 grams (CO2 per card calculations based on assumptions from industry standards), equating to plastic waste of 2,700 tons and an overall carbon footprint of 11,400 tons. The move to bamboo cards will help reduce this waste and footprint problem.