The scalability of the wearable RFID devices as key for the management of tourist peaks in pay as you throw waste collection.

In tourist destinations, the pay as you throw waste collection process is subject to changes during different periods of the year – the winter for mountain locations, the summer for seaside ones – in which the greatest concentration of visitors occur. For the Municipal Authorities, managing the tourist peaks effectively is indispensable for applying the pay as you throw collection system correctly.

Scalability and tourist peaks

Scalability is a physical concept and indicates, by definition, the capacity of a system to expand ad infinitum; a scalable system manages to expand its dimensions keeping its quality and efficiency unaltered.

In the season where the tourist peak occurs, the increase in consigned waste actually requires a change in the work process, which must therefore be scalable, meaning an increase in the number of operators, vehicles available for carrying out the collection and, in the case of pay as you throw collection, the procurement of an adequate number of devices for reading the RFID tags on the bags or bins.

To get an idea of the phenomenon, one can take the municipality of Rimini as an example. This one of the most visited seaside destinations on the peninsula, by both Italian and foreign tourists, and has just less than 150 thousand inhabitants (ISTAT data, 1st January 2018); from January to July 2018, the city saw a total of 1,105,263 arrivals, i.e. persons hosted in the accommodation structures (Source: Emilia Romagna Region statistics portal), to which an indefinite number of tourists who stayed in second homes, their own and rented ones, which do not appear in the statistics, must be added.

Where do the guests in tourist locations consign the wastes?

  1. In the hotel: in this case, it is not the guest in the structure that is considered the user, but the hotel, for which the quantity of wastes to consign naturally increases.


  1. In second homes: the user consists of the owner of the property, who is already known to the municipality where the house is and has its own kit for the collection; consignment is not year round, but only in period when the residence is occupied, e.g. from June to October.


  1. In the case of short-term lets: the tenant consigns the waste with the kit belonging to the user, i.e. the owner of the apartment, for the period of the stay (short-term lets of two weeks, a month, etc.).

Management of the tourist peak in the pay as you throw collection 




In order to manage the peaks appropriately, the first step for the administrations is to prepare a well made municipal database – consisting of the invoice recipients – to know which are the hotels and second home owners; the database of the kits for the waste collection, which must be uniquely identifiable, supplied by the municipality to the users must be combined with this. By means of a correct municipal database and a proper distribution of the kits, with a special coding for hotels, second homes and short-term lets, it is possible to filter the latter by ID groups, identifying, for example, the second home owners who go on holiday from June to September, or only July and August, and so on.

Giving a size to the number of operators and devices in store

Again, it is fundamental to carry out a historical analysis, examining the data for the last three or four tourist seasons and comparing the different years to reach an average of the operators used according to the period – in a seaside location, for example, 30 operators are needed in July, 40 in August and 25 in September as opposed to 15 in January. This type of analysis serves to give a precise dimension to the work process.

In second place, in order to meet the higher quantity of wastes consigned, the administration must procure an adequate number of devices – vehicles with a fixed antenna or wearable devices – for the precise reading of the RFID tag.


The scalability of the wearable RFID for pay as you throw measurements

The stand-alone wearable is the perfect example of a scalable system unit, because it allows the quantity of items to be changed in the field and the tourist peak to be managed in exactly the same way as the normal flow is managed. The wearable device:


it is considerably cheaper than installing a fixed antenna on the dustcart;

it is flexible: once the tourist season is finished, the majority of wearable devices purchased to meet the peak can be used for other purposes, like inventories and maintenance;

by acting as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) capable of detecting the operator’s quality of work, the pay as you throw collection wearable also allows the teams to be clustered, grouping the personnel according to capacities and needs;

it is a versatile tool that adapts to the characteristics of the area and road conditions, managing to reach small impracticable roads, inclines and lanes, which are widespread both in mountain villages and the numerous small seaside municipalities in our country.


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