time: 2016-09-06 10:31

Industrial and safety printing solutions provider Brady has announced a contract with Grand Rapids, Mich., to provide labeling solutions for the city's RFID-enabled refuse and recycling carts and construction dumpsters. The city is using Brady's BBP33 and BBP31 printers, durable vinyl label materials and LabelMark software to complement its RFID program and solve collection cart identification challenges, Brady reports.

The program includes 96,000 residential refuse and recycling carts and 20,000 construction dumpsters. Grand Rapids' "Pay-As-You-Throw" curbside refuse and recycling collection program provides each residence with a smart cart containing a passive EPC Gen 2 RFID tag (see The Economic Benefits of Going Green). City employees scan the carts using RFID readers upon collection, in order to charge each resident based on refuse cart size, while recycling is free and includes a point-based rewards program.

"While this program has successfully decreased waste disposal, increased recycling participation and improved waste management efficiency, occasionally it's been a challenge to keep track of the smart carts," said James Hurt, Grand Rapids' public services director, in a prepared statement. "Since these carts were only identifiable with an RFID scanner, it was difficult to determine who owned which cart, particularly when carts were moved or located in shared collection areas, such as apartments or multi-units. The lack of visual identification on the carts led to some confusion and inaccuracies in charging the right resident for their refuse."

To solve the identification challenge, Brady explains, the city sought an easy-to-use portable label printing product made of durable materials that could withstand Michigan winters. "This distributor came to Brady and we began developing an easy-to-use and effective solution to help the city make 200 to 300 uniform, 4 by 8-inch labels per day with the service address printed on them to offer at-a-glance identification on the smart carts," added Matt Sinkovich, Brady's territory manager, in the statement.

Brady's solution includes durable vinyl label materials and two label printers, including a BBP31 printer installed in a trash-collection truck to allow workers to create labels on-the-go for carts, the company reports. It also includes LabelMark6 label creation software used on the BBP33 printer to allow workers to easily import spreadsheet data and print the cart labels required for the residents on their route.

This effort not only assists collection employees with identification, but also helps customers know which cart belongs to their address. The city of Grand Rapids believes that Brady's new smart cart labeling system will result in improved customer service, enhanced efficiencies, decreased cart replacements and reduced billing disputes, according to the company.

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