The ability to recycle materials has been around for generations, and as an increasing number of residential and commercial facilities take on the metal, plastic and glass, it has become a common task to put your recycling at the curb on garbage pick-up day. But as mainstream as recycling is, the rules are ever-changing, so the Recycling Identifying Device (R.I.D.) was created to streamline the process.

white device with blue, red or green lights

The R.I.D, designed by U.K.-based company Cohda, scans materials to let the user know whether an item is recyclable or not. It uses near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to identify what the item is. Software allows the R.I.D. to match the item with the parameters of accepted items at the local recycling plant. In other words, the software can tell you if the item is accepted locally.

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diagram of components inside a device

The simple-to-use, handheld device is intended for use by waste organizations; the goal is to have the waste facility provide the device to each household. The device will help keep recyclable items out of the landfills and the oceans. Almost as bad as misdirected recyclable items are the materials that end up in the recycling bin where they don’t belong. These disallowed containers can contaminate other items on the recycling line, causing them to be thrown out.

green tag attached to a garbage bin

Most people have good intentions when it comes to recycling, but every township seems to have its own regulations regarding what is and what isn’t acceptable. Even at that, the list changes frequently. With this in mind, the R.I.D. accepts updates as they are released to keep the consumer informed. The device even has a system in place to release updated information in a way that anyone can access it easily. R.I.D. doesn’t require software, a computer or a smartphone; instead, when an update becomes available, a rewritable RFID card is attached to the household waste bin. Consumers then touch the R.I.D. to the RFID card to transfer the update automatically.

Because the entire project is focused on reducing waste and cleaning up waste systems, the R.I.D. can be disassembled and recycled at the end of its lifecycle.

+ Cohda

Images via Cohda