High-Tech Trash Bins Reveal When Residents Don't Recycle
Like a green-clad Santa Claus, the city of Cleveland will know if its residents have been good or bad when it comes to recycling, courtesy of new "smart" bins.
Outfitted with tiny radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips , these special recycling carts alert the city if a resident has not rolled them out to the curb in weeks.
Once this anonymous electronic tip comes in, trash supervisors are then authorized to raid a household's regular curbside trash. If they find more than 10 percent recyclables, such as glass, metal cans, plastic bottles and cardboard, the environmentally-unconscious homeowner can get hit with a $100 fine.
The Plain Dealer reported on the program last week, which has expanded from a 15,000-household pilot program launched in 2007 to now include 25,000 households across the city at a cost of $2.5 million. Officials will add an additional 25,000 homes annually until nearly all 150,000 homes are signed up.
Besides doing the environment a favor, enforcing recycling compliance via these high-tech bins makes a lot of fiscal sense. Cleveland pays $30 per ton of garbage it landfills, yet earns $26 for each ton of recyclable material , according to The Plain Dealer.
England has adopted similar sensor-equipped carts to keep an eye on municipal trash statistics, and Alexandria, Virginia keeps an electronic ear out for greater recycling opportunities as well.