Waste Advantage Magazine

Tracking carts: new directions in waste monitoring

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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID ) chips are becoming an integral part of the drive to improve service verification solutions, while providing measurable benefits across multiple functions. These benefits are many—from improved customer service to better asset tracking and more accurate billing.

Commonly referred to as “tags”, RFID chips are making their way into refuse and recycling carts that are increasingly being delivered to individual households or commercial establishments. Their use is proliferating primarily because of the growing need to uniquely and positively identify each customer that is receiving waste disposal services.

In some cases customers may be part of a recycling rewards program. In other cases customers may be billed on a “pay for use” basis, or a contract may require that service be verified on a cart-by-cart basis. To achieve the specific association between the service being performed and the customer, each cart—uniquely identified by its RFID tag—is associated with a specific account.

Implementation Considerations And How It Works
To implement such a rigorous system for municipal contracts, you need to plan from the time an RFP is written to the time the carts are actually deployed and serviced. First, the carts will need to be equipped with RFID tags. This process can either be a retrofitting exercise when existing carts are already in use, or specified as part of a new deployment. During the deployment or retrofit phase, handhelds equipped with RFID readers are generally used to associate a specific cart and RFID tag to a specific customer. The database that results from this phase forms the basis for the routes that are created and dispatched to the trucks that perform the collection service.

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