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Athens Garbage Collection Cleans Up with RFID

The Aspropyrgos Municipality, part of the greater Athens metropolitan area, has deployed an RFID-based trial to better control and manage its public garbage collection system. The system represents a classic example of a closed-loop RFID deployment designed to wring new efficiencies from existing processes.
Jan 09, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 9, 2007—The Aspropyrgos Municipality, part of the greater Athens metropolitan area, has deployed an RFID-based trial to better control and manage its public garbage collection system. The system represents a classic example of a closed-loop RFID deployment designed to wring new efficiencies from existing processes.

Each of the municipality's garbage containers is equipped with an RFID tag that stores a unique identification code. The garbage truck that collects the contents of the containers is equipped with an RFID antenna in the back of the vehicle, which itself is connected to a PDA-mounted RFID reader. When the truck lifts a tagged container to dump its contents in the back, the container's identification code is read by the on-board antenna. That code, together with a timestamp, is saved to the PDA. At the conclusion of the truck's route, the PDA holds a list of all the garbage containers that were emptied, and the exact time each emptying occurred. This data is then transferred wirelessly from the PDA to a central server located at the truck depot.

Added to that data is aggregate information about the entire route, such as the weight of all the garbage collected. When combined with total weight per day and per month, the Technical Department of the Aspropyrgos Municipality is able to achieve both a high-level and granular view of its garbage collection network, allowing it to better manage and allocate resources. Said Aspropyrgos mayor George E. Liakos, "Our municipality will have a number of advantages from this application, such as real-time information, better itinerary planning and organization, better human resources management, resulting in an overall better organization of work that will allow us to provide our citizens with a better service."

The technology was deployed by systems integrator CAT Hellas. The readers and on-metal tags were provided by Italian RFID hardware manufacturer CAEN.

Innovative, custom applications such as this have proven to be a much-needed revenue stream for RFID suppliers that are otherwise hoping and waiting for the supply chain market to take off. See the "Cover Your Assets" section of Top 10 RFID Trends of 2006, Part 1 for more on how this trend developed in 2006.

Read the announcement from CAEN RFID
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