RFID System tracks trash by household.

Press Release Summary:

EcoNology records trash disposal habits of individual households through use of RFID chips embedded in plastic trash carts. Data sensors on trash trucks read RFID chips as carts are being lifted on forks outfitted with scales, and weights of carts are recorded through on-board computers. RFID tags discourage theft or illegal dumping and track all activities that occur in life of asset. System measures weights to within 1 lb of accuracy and is NTEP certified.

Original Press Release:

Cascade Engineering Launches RFID System that Tracks Trash by Household

LAS VEGAS, April 5 / / -- Cascade Engineering Inc. today unveiled an automated system using "smart" waste containers, data readers and scales on trash trucks that will allow cities and towns nationwide to foster recycling and charge households by the weight of trash they put on the curb.

The EcoNology system developed by Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Cascade records the trash disposal habits of individual households through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in plastic trash carts. Data sensors on trash trucks read the RFID chips as the carts are being lifted on forks outfitted with scales, and the weights of carts are recorded through on-board computers. The data is then sent to waster haulers that charge customers by the weight of trash they set out for disposal and potentially reward households that recycle diligently.

Cascade introduced its new system at the Waste Expo, the solid waste industry's premier trade show, held this year in Las Vegas. In addition to manufacturing plastic trash carts, Cascade is a leading supplier of engineered plastic systems and components for industrial markets and automakers, as well as Cascade Engineering branded products.

"We coined the name EcoNology because we are applying technology to improve our nation's ecology," said Michael Lewis, the company's director of services for the solid waste solutions group. "Our corporation believes that America needs to recycle more, and EcoNology provides a fair method to reward recycling and assess costs by the amount of solid waste households contribute to landfills and incinerators.

"We see this as the next logical step in our nation's road to responsible solid waste management. The EcoNology system gives municipalities and waste haulers the tools that they need to show customers how responsible trash disposal can save them money and help the environment too."

The benefits from the EcoNology system include:

o Landfill diversion. Waste management companies can gather detailed information on recycling and trash operations in efforts to reduce landfill disposal expense.

o Asset Management. The unique RFID tag embedded on each container discourages theft or illegal dumping and tracks all activities that occur in the life of the asset.

o Improved operations. Automated data collection helps optimize refuse truck usage, maintain container maintenance records and streamline the customer billing process.

o Data for grants for recycling initiatives. Municipalities often need data to support grants being submitted for federal or state monies for recycling initiatives.

o Encourage recycling. The system measures weights to within 1 pound of accuracy and is National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) certified. This means it can be used with confidence to issue rebates and coupons to customers who recycle diligently, such as the program that RecycleBank developed in Philadelphia with Cascade and LTS Scale Corp.

Cascade tested the viability of the automated data tracking and recording system through a pilot program developed by RecycleBank in Philadelphia to encourage recycling. As part of the program, Cascade supplied RFID-enabled waste containers to about 5,000 households in two Philadelphia neighborhoods.

The program gives participants $5 in coupons for every 10 pounds of paper, cans and bottles they put out on their curb each week. Households can earn up to $25 a month in coupons, good at participating local and national retailers that absorb the cost of the coupons. The city saves money on trash hauling, households get discounts, and businesses get foot traffic without paying for advertising.

Lewis said the program is very successful in encouraging more people to recycle more of their trash. The percentage of households who recycle in the test neighborhoods rose to 90 percent, up from less than 25 percent at the start of the program in spring last year. Not only did more homes participate, but they recycled more of their trash. The average recycling rate, which compares how diligent residents are about recycling everything allowed, rose from less than 5 percent to more than 50 percent.

With its initial success, the program expanded its coverage area to Chester and Montgomery counties outside of Philadelphia about two months ago. Several other cities and counties in the Northeast are also considering the system, Lewis said.

For more information about Cascade Engineering or the EcoNology system, please contact John Kowalski, (616) 975-4895, e-mail kowalskij@cascadeng.com

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