In effort to improve pickup service, WCA installing radio frequency identification trackers on waste bins

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A few months after the company finalized a new contract with the cities of Roeland Park, Fairway and Westwood, waste hauler WCA is set to begin installing technology that the company says should help it ensure consistent service.

Homeowners in those three cities — like residents in much of northeast Johnson County, regardless of their hauler — had experienced persistent problems with trash and recycling service, with dozens of complaints about missed or late pickups.

As part of the cities’ agreement to enter a new contact with WCA, the company agreed to install radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on all trash and recycling bins. The tags allow WCA managers to see which bins have been emptied into WCA trucks and confirm which routes have been finished.

“Once the RFID chips are installed, company staff and city officials will be able to verify that weekly routes are completed and all homes have been serviced,” read a note from the company to Roeland Park residents this week. “The use of RFID-enabled carts is the key to our service delivery and accountability enhancements.”

In Roeland Park, the company is installing the RFID tags on trash carts and recycling bins this week. It’s asking residents to leave their carts on the curb through at least 6 p.m. on their normal trash pickup day to ensure the RFID crews are able to install the tags.

“Customers who have been using a recycling bin will receive a 65-gallon recycling cart,” reads a message to Roeland Park residents. “Residents can contact customer service at the number or web address below to request a smaller, 48-gallon cart. The small blue recycling bins will be left for your personal use, but we ask that recycling materials be placed at the curb in the cart not in the blue bin.”

UPDATED: A site commenter says that there appears to be some confusion about whether residents can get the 48-gallon carts or not. James Kelly just posted the following: “I just talked to WCA about getting the smaller, 48 gallon cart. The WCA representative said they do not currently have the smaller cart and that the mention, in the notice, of the 48 gallon cart as an option was incorrect. The representative said I either get the larger 64 gallon cart or they will not pick up my recycling.”