RFID & GPS for Waste Management

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 @ 11:25 AM

Locationing and Auto-Identification technologies are being used in a number of waste management activities - from using GPS for fleet management, to RFID-enabled recycling incentive programs, to contributing to several breakthroughs in smart packaging.

And, the innovation continues.  Just last week, Trimble Environmental Solutions announced cBin™, a new solution for managing remote recycling containers. According to the announcement, cBin allows hauling operations to save time and money by reducing fuel consumption, labor, and truck wear and tear incurred when they pick-up empty or partially full containers.

The cBin solution consists of a remote sensor that sends fill level and asset status information via wireless communications to a Web portal that can be accessed to manage container inventory and pickups. cBin sensors automatically measure container fill levels hourly and send updates to the cBin portal.

Trimble cBinPortal

The scBin Portal ummary screen provides an "at a glance" view of all containers in a community for rapid evaluation of container status.  Immediate updates are sent if fill levels exceed action levels.

While GPS technology has certainly been a difference-maker for fleet management, and now container monitoring, Challande – a Swiss waste management and material transportation company – chose to integrate RFID with GPS, setting them up for a greater return on their investment than if they just had GPS alone.

For 10 years, when Challande had a GPS system in place, they could see where their trucks were located and could then manually track down the various containers and waste bins they owned – a system that got the job done, but not one that was entirely efficient. Challande has hundreds of pieces of equipment they need to monitor. By attaching RFID tags to trailers, trucks, and cargo this year, they have been able to gain a more comprehensive view of the many moving parts of their company. The difference from using GPS alone?  Now the exact location and ID number of every bin and truck Challande owns is automatically aggregated and sent to their existing management software.

For Challande, the return on their investment is coming from all directions. Their risk of misplacing bins and other property is now practically non-existent. The time their employees used to spend tracking down bins is no longer an expense they have to account for. They don’t have to spend time or money implementing new management software, because they can integrate the new RFID tags with their existing system. Challande can even minimize delays in transportation and delivery by looking at an item’s distance from its destination and making adjustments on the fly.

Challande, and many others, are already watching their RFID systems pay for themselves.  And, as highlighted in our Infographic – The Future of RFID, the convergence of RFID with technologies like GPS is helping companies better manage their assets and the myriad of moving pieces they are responsible for.

Over the next decade, the convergence of wireless technologies will be augmented by RFID systems and the integration of passive RFID as part of this platform will be driven by the potential to measure, report and monetize a growing number of transactions in the physical world.  In certain applications, it is hard to imagine a future where everyday physical objects won’t have "built-in" RFID.

Tags: Trimble, RFID, GPS, Waste Management

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