City of Grand Rapids, Cascade Engineering Partner in Green Award

RFID Green Award 2013: James Hurt, Director of Public Services, Grand Rapids, Michigan

City honored for use of RFID-enabled recycling and refuse-collection system

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 23, 2013 -- Cascade Engineering today announced that its partnership between their Cascade Cart Solutions company and the City of Grand Rapids to implement an innovative refuse- and recycling-collection system has resulted in important recognition for the City by RFID Journal, a leading industry trade publication. The City of Grand Rapids’ “Green Award” was announced at RFID Journal LIVE! 2013, the publication’s 11th annual conference and exhibition, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

The City of Grand Rapids has been engaged in the fundamental transformation of its solid waste management system, with the goal of improving environmental performance by transitioning to a volume-based “Pay-As-You-Throw” program and increasing recycling participation rates. Under this new approach, residents are charged only when their refuse cart is placed at the curb and emptied, with charges based on cart size. Recycling is collected free of charge. In addition to decreasing the amount of waste disposed – and increasing recycling participation – the new program is significantly improving operational efficiencies through more efficient daily operations that include a paperless collection system, real-time route management, reduced fuel consumption and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.

“The City of Grand Rapids is honored to receive this important recognition of our ongoing commitment to best practices that improve municipal services and our residents’ overall quality of life,” said James Hurt, Director of the City’s Public Services Department. “Having the opportunity to tap this kind of environmental, engineering and manufacturing leadership here in West Michigan – through our partnership with Cascade – has been a key element in our ability to successfully deploy this pioneering, RFID-enabled system.”

City of Grand Rapids PAYT“The Grand Rapids Pay-As-You-Throw refuse program is unlike any other currently being utilized in the United States,” said Mark Harvey, Director of Technology and Asset Management at Cascade Cart Solutions. “It has the capacity to revolutionize the waste and recycling industry as it provides an effective and proven disincentive for waste production. This program has not only provided important environmental benefits, but social and financial benefits as well, and is demonstrating that it has the core components of a truly replicable, sustainable community program.”

The City’s Pay-As-You-Throw program is based on an innovative, end-to-end application of RFID-based technology implemented by Cascade Cart Solutions:

  • Xtreme RFID, a Cascade Engineering subsidiary, attaches rugged, high-performance RFID tags to Cascade Cart Solutions’ specially designed “SmartCarts”
  • The system features a combination of handheld PDAs and readers, as well as specialty CapturIT® truck systems developed in collaboration with AMCS
  • These fully automated onboard systems feature a custom configuration that allows for unassisted lifting of carts, while carts with a negative account balance – or carts not assigned to a customer – are placed on a list and are not emptied
  • Back office software was customized to provide secure integration with the City of Grand Rapids’ billing system and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capability.


“In addition to providing a positive, measurable environmental impact, the program is achieving a number of other key benefits,” added Hurt. “RFID-enabled Pay-As-You-Throw promotes equity and fairness as residents pay only for service they receive. Worker safety is increased as collection has been fully automated. Importantly, the entire system enables customer self-management, allowing residents to prepay their refuse bill online, over the phone, or in person, while offering greater cost control through the ability to select cart size, recycle more and present their refuse cart less often.”

About Cascade Engineering
Cascade Cart Solutions, a Cascade Engineering company, offers a comprehensive suite of products, technology, and services for the solid waste and recycling industry. Started in 1989 they have produced over 20 million carts used for weekly trash collection throughout North America.

Cascade Engineering is a manufacturer and marketer of multiple products and services supporting a variety of industries including renewable energy, automotive, commercial truck & bus, solid waste & recycling, material compounding, furniture, RFID, and material handling. The Cascade Engineering Family Of Companies is a global organization with more than 1,100 employees and 13 business units. The company’s world-class engineering, technology and manufacturing capabilities allow it to provide leading-edge solutions, while maintaining a strong commitment to lean manufacturing capabilities and environmental stewardship. Cascade’s business model is rooted in diversification and innovation and a commitment to creating sustainable products and services that contribute to the triple bottom line. Cascade has been certified by B Lab as a B Corporation, a designation that recognizes companies for their core focus on changing the world for the better through business. For more information, visit the company’s website at

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Amanda Passage
Lambert, Edwards & Associates


Read MLive article online here.

Read RFID Journal's Cover Story, RFID Green Award: The Economic Benefits of Going Green.

Full Press Release Here