Energy & Environment

Waste Carts Know If You're Not Recycling

Trash and recycling carts, embedded with radio frequency ID chips, will keep track of how often residents put their recycling cart out for collection.
by | August 26, 2010

To increase the amount of waste being recycled by residents in Cleveland, Ohio, the city’s Division of Waste Collection and Disposal is using high-tech waste carts to help issue fines to people who don’t recycle. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that trash and recycling carts, embedded with radio frequency ID chips, will keep track of how often a resident puts their recycling cart out for collection. If a cart has not been brought to the curb for weeks, a city worker will then analyze that resident’s trash cart for recyclables. If recyclable materials make up more than 10 percent of what's in the trash cart, the resident could face up to a $100 fine. Expanding on a 2007 pilot program, the city will give 25,000 households electronically-monitored carts annually, and continue doing so each year until the city’s 155,000 residences are added. Cleveland officials say the city earns $26 for each ton of recyclables collected and loses $30 for each ton of garbage dumped in a landfill, so the city will experience financial – and environmental – gains from increased recycling. Chip-embedded waste carts are starting to be utilized in other cities as well, such as Alexandria, Va.

Andy Kim
Andy Kim  |  Former Staff Writer

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