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Label it and everything’s sorted

MetroSense – the newest company in MariCap’s portfolio of innovative businesses – launched a waste identification system in 2009 that it believes will bring greater efficiency to recycling networks with the help of RFID technology and easy-to-use waste identification stickers.

The MetroSense™ system represents a new and innovative take on the logistics used for sorting, transporting, and processing household waste, and one that promises to offer significant benefits to consumers, the community, and companies involved in waste handling and recycling. The patent-pending system that has been devised by MetroSense is simple and effective, and depends on the use of intelligent waste bag stickers. All consumers have to do is sort their waste into separate fractions, such as biowaste or metal, pack it in regular plastic bags, and attach an appropriate colour-coded sticker before placing the bags in their normal waste container.

The RFID tag contained in the stickers ensures that when the bags are delivered to a recycling centre the contents can be automatically detected, enabling robots to pick them up and empty them into the appropriate container or compactor for onward processing.

Bags themselves are collected and sent to their own container, from where they can be sent for recycling or energy use, helping eliminate unnecessary landfill use. Mixed waste is crushed and compacted on-site.

Graph 1: The MetroSense™ system.

Everyone benefits

This approach offers multiple benefits, not the least of which are simpler waste sorting for householders, enhanced sorting and recycling at waste treatment plants, reduced levels of mixed waste, and an enhanced ‘waste-to-energy’ equation.

By concentrating waste collection in a single stream and eliminating the need for multiple trucks to collect different fractions from residential areas, the MetroSense™ solution has the potential to reduce truck-related CO2 emissions quite significantly.

Fewer collection points and containers also mean less cleaning and maintenance, and a better environment for residents.

Graph 2: Identification stickers.

Easy and economical recycling

The benefits of the RFID-based MetroSense™ recycling system extend from the consumer all the way to recycling centres:

  • Easier waste sorting for householders
  • Suitable for all major types of household waste
  • Fewer waste containers needed
  • Fewer collection trucks and lower overall mileage, resulting in a smaller CO2 footprint
  • Reduced mixed waste levels
  • Improved ‘waste-to-energy┬┤ performance
  • Lower overall waste management costs
  • Ideal for integration with a centralised waste collection system, such as MariMatic’s MetroTaifun™.

Committed to innovation

MetroSense belongs to the MariCap group of companies, which includes MariMils and MariMatic, featured elsewhere in HighTech Finland 2010.

MariCap’s history began in 1973, with an innovating pipe jointing technology that went on to score a major success in the North Sea and offshore oil and gas fields elsewhere. A specialist business devoted to testing, flushing, and commissioning hydraulic piping systems followed, together with Marioff Corporation, which launched HI-FOG, which has since become the world’s leading supplier of waste mist-based fire protection systems.

In addition to MariMils and MariMatic, today’s portfolio includes MariSense, which supplies the Ella Store Labels Solution, combining the optical properties of paper and the benefits of electronic price displays; and MariComp, one of Finland’s leading precision machining workshops.

> Daniel Seere
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)