Waste carts have been around since the days of horse-drawn carriages. For years, information for those carts was tracked through hand-written notes; however with today’s radio frequency identification (RFID), geolocation and mobile tracking technologies, hauling companies and MSW departments can better manage their carts with more efficiency, accuracy and quality results.

For example, Toter unveiled its ToterTrax system at this year’s WasteExpo. It is a two part system—mobile application and web portal.

The system includes the embedding of an RFID tag into the handle of each Toter cart during the manufacturing process. As each cart is delivered to a specific address, the crew scans the cart’s RFID tag with the ToterTrax mobile app portion of the system to register that it’s been delivered. The ToterTrax app then retrieves the RFID data, serial number, geo coordinates of location (where the cart was scanned), and time stamp (when cart was scanned) and sends this data through a Bluetooth connection to the ToterTrax web portal. This allows real-time monitoring of cart delivery and rollout.

“This technology is specifically designed to aid municipalities and/or haulers in managing their cart inventory with accurate and timely data, while increasing the efficiency of cart delivery at the same time,” says Nick DiFoggio, manager of assembly, delivery and warranty for Toter, based in Charlotte, N.C.

Cascade Cart Solutions (CCS) based in Grand Rapids, Mich., uses a similar cart management technology—the Xtreme Tag RFID tag and the CartLogic asset management software. Every ICON Series cart is now a SmartCart outfitted with the Xtreme Tag brand of RFID tags.

Eric Crippin, senior product manager for CCS, says this type of technology plays the role of replacing all previous forms of waste cart management by doing it faster, more accurately and in a way that’s available anywhere at any time. 

“It provides the foundation of all other technologies associated with waste stream management. By having the ability to know where each cart is, you enable a cost effective level of granularity that reaches down to the individual customer level,” he says.

CCS’s CartLogic allows management of cart services and location information using RFID technology, GPS systems and cloud computing. Each time a delivery, swap, repair or removal is made the cart’s RFID tag is scanned (or a serial number is entered) and the cart's location and type of service provided is recorded, generating a service history log for each cart whether in the field or at the yard. This information synchronizes with CartLogic's cloud-managed platform, storing all cart inventory data online.

San Diego, Calif.-based Air-Trak’s RFID technology enables precise real-time asset management for RFID-tagged carts. The solution consists of a cart inventory system, in-vehicle RFID capture system, hand-held scanner, and seamless integration with Air-Trak’s WasteConnect proof-of-service application.

“The Air-Trak RFID solution is used to manage cart inventory by tracking each cart from the warehouse, its delivery to customer locations, removal from customer locations, and recording collection by the waste or recycling truck to deliver intelligent proof of service,” says Dave Gelvin, president and general manager of waste and recycling for Air-Trak. “Benefits include an automated inventory management and deployment of hundreds of thousands of carts, and service verification to ensure customer satisfaction and recording recycling participation.”

Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) in Morton Grove, Ill., uses UHF RFID-tagged waste and recycling carts that transmit information—including the resident’s address, name and date—to a reader located on the arm that lifts the carts for service. The cart’s chip also distinguishes whether it’s waste or recycling. When each route is closed out at the end of the day, the information is collected, disseminated then processed by LRS’ software for the sake of billing.

“A feature of RFID carts—aside from its benefit to residents specifically, and municipalities generally—is the ability to for us to track our assets. We always know where the cart is. This helps residents, if the cart is, for example, blown away or stolen, and helps us along the lines of inventory tallies and allocation,” says Bill Kenney, municipal manager for LRS. “Largely, the benefits are convenience-based. Residents will no longer need to purchase refuse stickers to attach to their carts, or worry about inventory—which may seem trivial, but when one is out of refuse stickers the night before service, traveling to the local market to buy more becomes a nuisance.”