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Toter Dumps Wasted Time With RFID-Tagged Bins

The company's RFID-based ToterTrax system, which can automatically record when and where its workers deliver each waste bin, opens up a range of other possible uses.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 29, 2016

Waste and recycling bin company Toter is offering a new automated assembly and delivery (A&D) service, leveraging the passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags that it embeds in its containers as they are manufactured. The solution, known as ToterTrax, consists of delivering the bins to customers and then using RFID readers to collect and store data in the field. It also includes an app and an online portal that users can access to learn more about when and where each bin was delivered.

But the A&D service is just the first phase of the RFID-based offerings that Toter plans to make available, according to Nick DiFoggio, the company's assembly and delivery manager. In the future, the data could also be used to track a variety of actions related to a waste bin, such as swap-outs (the replacement of a damaged bin, for instance), maintenance and measuring the weight of recyclable materials within each bin. The company could also use the solution for analytics, by offering haulers and municipalities the information they need to improve route efficiency, reduce costs, enhance sustainability and ensure compliance.

During the manufacturing process, Toter embeds an Alien Squiggle RFID tag into the handle of each cart.
Toter, a division of Wastequip since 2007, has sold its wheeled waste containers (known as carts) nationwide for the past three decades. Its customers are a mix of municipalities and private haulers, DiFoggio says. For several years, the firm has been embedding an Alien Technology Squiggle passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tag into each bin's handle for its own management purposes. By creating an electronic profile for every item, linked to the unique ID number encoded to the tag's memory, the company can automatically identify which customer (such as a private hauler or a municipality) received that bin, as well as when this occurred.

However, DiFoggio says, the company always had other use cases in mind that would benefit its customers. First of all, haulers and municipalities could employ the technology to automatically link each cart to a specific residence or place of business. Traditionally, this was accomplished by manually writing the ID number printed on the bin's front at the time of its delivery. More recently, with RFID tags embedded in the bins, crews could use a handheld reader to interrogate the tag's ID number, but they still had to write down the serial number printed on the bin, which was different than the tag ID. Workers at the office then needed to input that data.

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