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UPM RFID helping to turn trash to cash



Published March 13, 2012
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UPM RFID and Cascade Engineering have helped the cities of Cincinnati, OH, and Grand Rapids, MI, turn trash into cash, using RFID technology to optimize critical waste management processes and generate cost savings. The two municipalities are combating the problem of growing waste volumes by motivating citizen behavioral change with incentive-based recycling programs and pay-as-you-throw pricing.

Cascade Engineering’s RFID system for the waste management industry consists of three components: two-wheeled recycling and trash containers mounted with RFID xtreme tags from Xtreme RFID, an on-board truck data collection system with RFID readers and antennas from Capturit mounted in the hopper and an industrial PC with optional screen and GPS and GSM transceiver placed in the cab, and back office software.

The RFID system is built to withstand heavy usage. The company’s xtreme tags, which are powered by UPM ShortDipole high performance UHF inlays from UPM RFID, snap securely in place below trash cart lids, are guaranteed to last 10 years and perform in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. The truck system withstands continual impact and daily usage. When sanitation crews collect consumers’ garbage and recycling, the truck’s RFID readers and antennas capture tag data, recording the time and GPS coordinates as well as weight of the pickup. Meanwhile, drivers can record missed pickups using the onboard computer. That information can be used to automate data collection and billing, while also providing municipalities with powerful insights they can use to enhance service, from answering customer queries about pickups to fine-tuning driving routes.

“We look to partner with best in class companies who share a passion for sustainability and innovation. UPM RFID is the right partner to help us positively impact the environment by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and a vehicle that allows us to help our customers achieve their waste diversion goals," says Mike Lewis, business unit manager, Xtreme RFID.

In Cincinnati, the implementation of RFID-based recycling system has increased citizen recycling participation from 40 to 79% to 18,000 tons, and grown recycling volumes by 49% during years 2009-2011, saving $930,000 in waste disposal and labor costs. The city of Grand Rapids is now extending RFID technology to waste collection, implementing usage-based pricing for the city’s 60,000 residents and using GPS and RFID data to plan sanitation crew driving routes for optimal operational and fuel efficiency.


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