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Recent decades have seen a spike in both the rapid sophistication of technology and the increased need for proper recycling. As both variables continue to rise in prominence, some have found intuitive ways to combine them for the greater good of the environment. There are many ways in which modern technology has been harnessed to improve waste disposal and management.

Here are some of the biggest recent technological breakthroughs in recycling.

 

RFID tracking

The modern recycling process has benefited greatly from the implementation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking. This technology makes it possible to track recycled items by means of electromagnetic fields, which automatically tag these objects and monitor their movement based on electronically stored information. RFID technology has actually been around for a long time, but its use in the recycling industry has only recently become a standard practice. Basically, this technology gives added insight to the recycling process and provides an electronic record of its various stages, including participation rates at recycling bins and the households from which many of these items came.

 

Smart devices

Smart devices continue to take over many aspects of our daily lives, from voice-activated music control to automated pet feeding gadgets. In the recycling world, smart devices are making a huge impact in the ways we monitor crucial parts of the recycling process, namely the fullness of cans and carts. Many recycling bins can now be made “smarter” through the use of sensor-based technology, such as Enevo’s hockey puck-shaped device, that allow users to keep track of bin capacity and ultimately keep a healthy flow of recycling in constant motion. Enevo’s device in particular can apparently withstand harsh weather conditions and can alert users in the event of bin fires or vandalism.

As smart devices continue to strengthen our understanding and foresight of recycling efforts, they certainly appear to signal a whole new generation of environmental sustainability.

 

Gasification

Some companies have channeled their recycling motivation into the gasification process — in other words, the process of converting waste into biofuels. According to Mashable, this process “generates clean, sustainable, low-cost synthesis gas — a ‘syngas’ — comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen gas.”

“Syngas,” in turn, can be used for the benefit of other sustainable processes, including liquid fuel protection, green diesel fuel production, crude oil refinement, fossil fuel replacement, and ethanol production.

Gasification works on two different fronts — both of them grounded in a green approach to waste disposal and renewable energy.