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Mississippi County Tracks Waste Pickup

Using RFID readers on trucks and tags on waste carts, Monroe County identified 600 customers who were receiving service without being billed.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 30, 2009Monroe County, Miss., is employing an RFID-based system to track its garbage trucks, document the waste carts containing refuse that have been picked up and ensure the county bills residents appropriately for the service being provided.

The system enables the county to track 8,600 waste carts and five trucks as they pick up residential waste and bill residents for the pickups. Since fully deploying the system in August 2009, the county has identified 600 locations in which residents were receiving pickup service without being billed, according to Martin Demers, CEO of FleetMind Solutions, which provided the system's hardware, software and integration.

To document the delivery of waste carts to customers, drivers use a FleetMind RFID-enabled handheld computer.
Those unbilled pickups were the main challenge the county faced before implementing the system—the county wanted to identify which homes were using the municipality's waste-management service without paying for it. County and state laws require the county to pick up all garbage that residents place on the side of the street, and to bill them accordingly for that service. In some cases, identifying which residence the waste came from wasn't easy. Waste-management employees emptied carts left out on the street without knowing specifically if a customer was paying for the service, or if the cart belonged to the home where it was placed.

To resolve the problem, the county went to its garbage-equipment provider Labrie Environmental Group, which recommended FleetMind. The county then chose to distribute its own carts to all residents using the FleetMind solution, and to have them fitted with RFID tags for easy and immediate identification. The county researched cart delivery and management solutions for approximately two years, then chose FleetMind's system, which the company began installing in April.

The FleetMind system has been in use by private waste-hauling companies and some public waste-management agencies for the past five years, Demers says. It includes handheld RFID-enabled computers for initial cart delivery, fixed readers on truck hoppers, a GPS system to pinpoint each truck's location at all times, and an onboard computer with a flat screen displaying details regarding the vehicle's location and each pickup as it occurs. The system also includes software to manage data from RFID reads on the truck's computer, as well as in the firm's back-end database.

According to Demers, the EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID tags can either be attached to existing waste carts, or embedded inside the carts by the cart manufacturer. In the case of Monroe County, the tags were embedded in the front of each new 90-gallon plastic cart.

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