09/28/2009: The of Use of RFID in Recycling and Waste Management

September 28, 2009 at 4:30 am 3 comments

RFID which stands for Radio Frequency Identification makes the use of an RFID tag and can be used just about anywhere, from clothing tags to missiles to pet tags to food — anywhere that a unique identification system is needed. The tag can carry information as simple as a pet owners name and address or the cleaning instruction on a sweater to as complex as instructions on how to assemble a car.

The RFID technology is already deployed in many manufacturing processes, supply chains, supermarkets, or even for parcel shipping support such as Wal-Mart using it for efficient inventory tracking and management.

RFID which is also called ‘dedicated short range communication (DSRC)’ often confused with another technology called ‘bar code identification’. Unlike bar code identification, RFID eliminates the need for line-of-sight reading and scanning can be done at great distances.

The use of RFID is growing rapidly in various sectors. The benefits of using RFID in maximizing the efficiency of recycling and waste management have been taken into considerations in the following areas: Incentive-Based Recycling, Bill by Volume and Specialty Disposal.

A handful of forward-thinking municipalities are already using RFID tags for incentive-based recycling. This incentive-based recycling program focuses on accurately rewarding customers for the amount they recycle, while minimizing the amount of trash headed for the landfill.

One recent example is the city of Philadelphia’s partnership with Recycle Bank. Philadelphia residents receive a bin fitted with a low frequency (LF) RFID tag that identifies each household. Recycling trucks are outfitted with a scale and an RFID reader. On recycling pick up day, a resident’s bin is placed on a scale, identified by the RFID tag and reader, and then weighed. The Recycle Bank system tracks how many pounds of recycling each household produces per month, and the households then receive Recycle Bank Rewards Dollars. Residents can redeem rewards dollars with more than 300 retailers.

rfid_wastemanagementWith the use of RFID, municipalities may change the trash collection pricing structures from flat fee-based systems to pay-as-you-throw and pay-by-weight. As the fully automated truck lifts the RFID-tagged bin to empty it, the tag’s ID number is read and eventually processed into individual customer invoices. Trucks fitted with scales can add weight data for pay-by-weight billing as well.

RFID can also be used to identify, secure and verify items for disposal such as corporate documents destined for shredding or recycling, or hazardous waste that has to be hauled safely to an approved disposal site.

The use of RFID in recycling and waste management is curse or blessing is still not clear because the ecological effects of using item-level RFID seem worrying at first glance. Hence, further research should be conducted to provide an in depth investigation of disposability and reemployment of used microchips in RFID technology.

Thanks for reading~

Don’t forget to take the quiz on Blackboard.



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dave bagnell  |  September 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    me working in the waste managment feild i think this is really cool and look forward to see it take place around here

  • 2. sandeep120  |  September 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I am sure it won’t take longer time for us to see this technology working in full swing.

  • 3. JimmyBean  |  October 1, 2009 at 2:24 am

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean


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