A waste weighing programme being launched next month in North Lanarkshire will be the first in Scotland to use using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
The year-long pilot, being rolled out from early September, will involve 5,000 households.
The programme, funded by the Scottish government funded advisory group Zero Waste Scotland and delivered in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, involves the use of RFID tags. These have already been used in Europe and in some other parts of the UK.
The tags will be installed within household waste and recycling collection bins, without any impact on local collection procedures or timescales, to capture individual bin weights to help understand levels of recycling participation against residual waste disposal. This information will help identify areas for improvements and efficiencies to waste services; enhance planning for collection routes; and reduce vehicle travel times and emissions. It will also enable better staff and resource planning and identify other potential financial savings within the council’s Waste Solutions department.
The most recent figures published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in 2019 show North Lanarkshire residents recycled just over 40% of their household waste. The local authority is focused on raising that figure to 70% by 2025. Achieving this goal, along with efficiency savings and emissions reductions being targeted through the waste weighing programme, are key measures in supporting the Scottish Government’s ambition of ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2045 and achieving net zero by 2030.
North Lanarkshire Council’s Convener of Environment and Transportation Committee, Michael McPake, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this innovative pilot project with Zero Waste Scotland.
“It’s important that we can monitor existing levels of recycling so we can determine how to engage with local residents and make improvements to services. The use of RFID technology enables us to achieve this aim and will support our ambition of increasing household recycling activity across North Lanarkshire. We look forward to working closely with households involved in the initial trial which – if successful – has the potential of being rolled out across the wider local authority area, and to other parts of Scotland.”
Iain Gulland, CEO, Zero Waste Scotland, said North Lanarkshire was “leading the way in embracing technology to enhance its green credentials and tackle climate change.”
“RFID technology is ideal in helping councils gauge household waste levels. This project involves collecting data relating to the weight and make-up of collected waste and will have no impact on bin collection services. The primary focus is to gather data to determine which campaigns and interventions work best to reduce residual waste and increase the volume and efficiency of local recycling. RFID technology offers an innovative approach in collecting data to support this objective which will ultimately help North Lanarkshire achieve its net zero carbon targets.”