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February 2004

Rochester Bar-Codes Residential Waste Containers to Reduce Costs

Grand Rapids, MI and Rochester, NY— The city of Rochester, New York is using a new permanent, in-mold bar code application developed by Cascade Engineering for Rochester’s Department of Environmental Services (DES) on waste containers.

Cascade Engineering said more than 70,000 bins, using the new technology, are being distributed to residents of Rochester as part of an initiative to help the city reduce costs related to illegal dumping and waste container theft. The 12-month program, which began earlier this year, is expected to reach completion during the summer of 2004. Roughly two-thirds of the bins have been distributed and the new containers will allow the city of Rochester to improve efficiency when it comes to repairing or replacing damaged containers.

Each container includes a permanent, in-mold bar-coding system that allows the DES to assign waste containers to a specific address using the property’s tax identification number. Using a handheld scanner, trash collectors can quickly scan the container’s bar code, providing a detailed history of ownership, location and repair information.

“We approached several companies with our problem and told them what we wanted, what we needed it for, and what our time frame was,” said Karon Simoni, DES division superintendent. “Cascade Engineering came back to us with the innovative idea of a permanent, bar-coded plastic container that can be tracked. Cascade Engineering not only solved the problem, they did so at a competitive cost and in a short amount of time. As a result, Rochester citizens will soon have a new waste removal system that’s more effective and will help us reduce costs.”

The bar-coding technology should help eliminate illegal dumping and waste container theft, Simoni says, potentially saving the city more than $200,000 per year in container replacement and dumping costs. The city replaced roughly 5,000 containers during the last fiscal year due to theft, loss or destruction. Residential waste containers cost a typical city between $40-$50 each, depending on the manufacturer and contract.

The bar-coded waste containers began hitting the streets in July 2003 and had reached roughly two-thirds of the city at the end of November 2003. City officials expect the program to be fully implemented by September 2004. On average, city waste containers have a life expectancy of 11 years, and the containers being replaced with the new bins were originally purchased in 1992.

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