The Chinese Government is rolling out its next generation identity cards, which are being manufactured using Cadence copolyester from Eastman Chemical Company. The new cards are now being used in several Chinese cities, with 200-300 million cards expected to be produced annually. More than one billion Chinese citizens will be using the new ID cards by 2008. “We can now say with certainty that every household in the world's most populous country will soon be home to at least one Eastman innovation,” said Randy Scott, Eastman’s global market development manager.
Featuring encapsulated integrated circuits, the new Chinese cards hold machine-readable personal information and replace 'dumb' ID cards that were first issued in the 1980s. To make life harder for counterfeiters, the new cards consists of several layers of Cadence copolyester, These range from a clear outer layer through two white printed inner layers and finally a white core into which the 'brains' of the ID - the data chip - are embedded. According to Scott, the new cards can improve everyday life in China. “They will help stamp out the white-collar crime that relies on counterfeit paper IDs, and also cut down on bureaucracy in the administration of the country’s social services,” he said.
Though exceptionally durable, the cards will need to be replaced. Another Cadence benefit is its recyclability. While one discarded ID card may not be much of an ecological threat, the sheer volume being issued in China makes for a lot of plastic. "One of our major objectives in China is to provide smarter and greener solutions," says Robert Preston, vice president and managing director for Eastman Asia Pacific. "As we build our businesses in China, we continue to adhere to the principle of supplying environmental friendly products, and the smart card is a fine example.” A process called calendering is used to produce the films made of Cadence copolyester, which is an environmentally superior, halogen-free alternative to many other resins used in the film calendering industry.