RFID to tag waste

Japanese waste management company Kureha Environmental Engineering is to begin tests to examine the effectiveness of using RFID tags to track medical waste materials as they are moved for disposal.

The testing will be done in collaboration with IBM Japan at IBM’s RFID Solution Centre in Yamato, Japan.

The primary goal for the RFID system is to prevent illegal waste disposal by creating a traceable system for medical waste with a number of different hospitals and transportation companies in Japan.

Amendments to Japan’s Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law have resulted in stricter regulations on illegal dumping of industrial waste. Under the latest regulations, not only would individuals committing acts of illegal dumping be punished, but the businesses (such as hospitals or plants) where the waste originated from would also be incriminated.

This revision to the law has made businesses increasingly aware and mindful of the importance of closely monitoring discarded waste to ensure that it is processed and disposed of safely.

Containers, (made from different materials such as cardboard and plastic) which are regularly used by Kureha Environmental Engineering, will be equipped with RFID tags, and signal-reading antennas will be installed at IBM’s RFID Solution Centre. This testing will investigate the sensitivity of the signal and the precision of the data read out from the devices. It will also enable RFID tag mounting methods and the influence of obstacles to be analysed.

The trial is expected to be completed by early August and then, if successful, onsite testing will take place at Kureha Environmental Engineering’s waste processing site.

When the effectiveness of RFID tagging is confirmed the company plans to equip Kureha General Hospital, in Fukushima, Japan, with the RFID technology to track their discarded medical waste.

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