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In Illinois, RFID Makes It Easier for Residents to Pay as They Throw

Lakeshore Recycling Systems is using EPC Gen 2 tags and readers to track usage of the waste-collection services it provides to the cities of Wheaton and Highland Park.
By Claire Swedberg

RFID allows users to forego the need to purchase stickers and attach one to a cart each time they put out that cart for collection. Traditional stickers will still be used for bulk items such as appliances, electronic or yard waste.

Highland Park adopted a Sustainable Strategic Plan in 2010 to make the community greener and more sustainable, according to Garard, and volume-based solid waste disposal is part of that effort. "We believe a volume-based service encourages residents to generate less solid waste, and the use of RFID is expected to increase the number of residents who use the service," she says.

Hayley Garard, assistant to Highland Park's city manager
With the LRS system, a passive EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tag is embedded in each trash or recyclables cart (Kenney declined to name the makes and models of RFID tags and readers his company uses). By using RFID, the paper stickers are no longer needed.

The unique ID number encoded to each RFID tag is linked to its size and type of waste – recyclable or trash--in Lakeshore Recycling Systems' software residing on its own server. When a consumer acquires a cart, LRS inputs the cart's ID along with that individual's billing address.

At the front of each garbage truck, an RFID reader is installed on the arm that raises the cart to the hopper, so that when a cart's contents is dumped into the hopper, the reader captures the cart's tag ID number. At the end of the day, when the truck comes back to the waste-management facility, the reader uploads the captured tag data, via Wi-Fi, and the billing tally for each resident is updated accordingly. The reader also stores the time and date of each RFID tag read, to provide confirmation that the tip occurred at the appropriate time and therefore the data is accurate.

Kenney says LRS uses its own software to manage the data on its server, and link it directly to the billing system.

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