RFID Powers Pay-As-You-Throw Garbage Collection

August 9, 2013 Joey McFarland

RFID Powers Pay-As-You-Throw Garbage Collection
In 2010, the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan decided to transform its waste management system in order to reduce costs and decrease waste. Over the last few years, the city has been implementing a new, RFID-powered Pay-as-You-Throw (PAYT) program that encourages residents to be green.


How It Works

Garbage and recycling carts are equipped with Xtreme RFID’s durable RFID tags which are built to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions. Each tag contains a unique ID number which is associated with a customer’s account. Collection trucks contain RFID readers and antennas which register carts as their contents are emptied, giving the city insight into the volume of trash and recycling for each customer in every neighborhood.

Grand Rapids incentivizes recycling by offering free merchandise and discounts at local businesses for increased recycling. Meanwhile, residents are charged for garbage collection based on their volume of trash.


The city is seeing substantial environmental benefits due to a 60% increase in recycling tonnage and a 12% reduction in waste and incinerator fees. RFID also enables a 40% increase in routing efficiencies due to real-time route management. Because of these benefits, Grand Rapids projects annual savings greater than $1 million.

The City of Grand Rapids was the winner of RFID Journal’s RFID Green Award in 2013 for this innovative deployment.

Want to find out if RFID can improve your operations? Get your free RFID consultation.

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