Recycling rewards scheme adopts RFID to boost adoption
RecycleBank, a consumer rewards programme that motivates people to recycle their rubbish, has begun using new RFID technology and weighing systems to make it easier for waste disposal services and municipal authorities to implement.
RecycleBank provides communities with an environmentally conscious solution to the rising costs of waste collection and disposal. RecycleBank provides a single-stream recycling programme (which means that recyclables such as cardboard, paper, aluminium, tin, glass and plastic can be placed in one container rather than forcing consumers to separate them manually).
Rewards dollars awarded RecycleBank rewards participants by giving them RecycleBank Reward Dollars based on the weight of material they recycle. RecycleBank Reward Dollars can be redeemed at a network of reward partners. The programme has more than 300 local and national reward redemption partners, including Coca-Cola, Patagonia, IKEA, Whole Foods, and Timberland.
The programme currently claims nearly 50,000 participating homes in the US, and its systems process some 200,000 transactions each month. According to Scott Lamb, senior vice president for RecycleBank, if each of those 50,000 households were to recycle all their rubbish each week, more than 64 million pounds of rubbish could be diverted from landfill sites each year.
How the technology works Each RecycleBank household is equipped with a rubbish bin that contains an embedded RFID tag (which carries only a unique serial number, and not any household or personally identifiable data).
Municipalities' and independent waste haulers' recycling trucks are then equipped with an RFID antenna and reader. The bins are scanned by the RFID reader when they are lifted and tipped into recycling trucks, and the weight of recyclables in the bin is automatically recorded by a mobile computer in the truck's cab.
When the recycling pick-up route is complete, the trucks return to base where data from the device is transferred wirelessly to the RecycleBank system, which then assigns the appropriate number of Reward Dollars to each participating household.