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How Practical Is RFID for Recycling Efforts?

Posted By RFID Journal, 02.20.2020

Our city is looking to upfit our recycling carts with RFID tags. If we were to change haulers in the future, and if the new hauler used the same frequency but a different brand of reader than our tags, would the new hauler be able to read our tags? Along a similar line, if we were to make it a requirement that a hauler had RFID scanners on its trucks, and if another community it served used RFID tags of a different brand, would the hauler be able to scan both communities' carts?

—Melissa

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Melissa,

It would not be possible to say for sure whether tags and readers using the same frequency would be compatible. There are different air-interface protocols (the "language" tags and readers use to speak to one another) for the same frequency.

For example, HF tags and readers could use the ISO 14443 or ISO 15693 air-interface protocol standard. There are also different passive UHF frequencies. But the likelihood is that HF tags would work with HF readers (they would either use ISO 15693 or the NFC protocol, which incorporates both HF standards), while UHF readers would likely be based on the ISO 18000-63 air-interface protocol standard.

If a hauler served different communities that utilized different brands of tags using the same frequency, the above would also apply. My suggestion would be to speak to the haulers and find out if they are using RFID now—and, if so, what frequency and air-interface standard they employ.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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