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Using Sensors to Increase Recycling Rates in The City of Atlanta

Atlanta, GA

Project deployed embedded chips in all of the city's residential solid waste and recycling bins. Chip readers were then placed on the city's solid waste trucks along with GPS trackers and cellular connections to record and broadcast the time and location of each bin pickup throughout the city.

Topics Covered

Waste Management


Initial: 50 Thousand USD

O&M: 1 Thousand USD


General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2016

Gov Champion

Public Works, Information Technology, Mayor's Office of Sustainability and Resilience

Problem Addressed

The city wanted to increase voluntary recycling rates while reducing unnecessary waste disposal fees. In order to improve participation rates, the city had to use its limited educational and outreach resources as optimally as possible.

Solutions Used

By tracking the utilization of recycling bins (and given the challenge of shared waste vehicles) this solution allowed targeted education and outreach services to be maximally efficient in increasing recycling participation.



The city is now able to track the location of its truck fleet in real time allowing for better operational tracking.


The city is able to monitor recycling participation rate by area within the city in order to better target recycling education and outreach efforts.


The city is able to track where waste and recycling is being sent.


The city is able to tell when individual trucks deliver waste to the recycling plant and vice versa (saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars per year).

Something Unique

This project was implemented internally by the city as a bin renewal effort. Financing for the bin replacement and the vehicle upgrades was provided by the Public Works department through their normal capital process.

Who Should Consider

Any community wanting to maximize waste management efficiency and lower total costs.

Last Updated

Jul 9th, 2018
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