Identsystem – answers to frequently asked questions

On 1 January 2024, the city of Essen introduced a digital identification system for the grey, brown and blue garbage cans. With the new system, the emptying of waste garbage cans can be digitally recorded and assigned to the respective addresses. This is done using a small transponder chip and a barcode sticker, which are attached to the approximately 220,000 garbage cans in the Essen city area. The changeover to the system is free of charge for households in Essen.

How does the identification system work?

Every grey, brown and blue garbage can in Essen is equipped with an individual transponder chip and a barcode sticker. This means that each bin can be assigned to a specific address. During emptying, the identification features are read and recorded by a reader on the garbage can. The data is then transferred to EBE. If a garbage can has no label and no chip, the process is interrupted and the garbage can cannot be emptied. If a garbage can cannot be emptied for other reasons – for example, because cars are parked in the way or because the garbage can has not been put out – this is also recorded and stored in the system.

Why was the system introduced?

The digital system enables more efficient management of the provided waste garbage cans and digital verification of waste disposal services. The automatic registration of each emptying can improve EBE’s operational processes, for example when replacing a garbage can. EBE will also be able to answer citizens‘ inquiries received by the customer service centre more quickly and easily in future because all processes can be viewed digitally. In the long term, the identification system should also ensure that charges are fairer, as incorrectly registered garbage cans will be excluded from emptying.

How will all the garbage cans in the city be equipped?

For the identification system, all 220,000 grey, brown and blue garbage cans in Essen were equipped with the identification features after all owners and housing associations had received information letters on equipping the garbage cans in 2023.

From January 2024, the EBE’s modification service retrofitted garbage cans that were not yet equipped. If one of your garbage cans is still not equipped, please make it accessible for our employees so that the garbage cans can be retrofitted as soon as possible. Garbage cans in partial service (brown and blue garbage cans) that have not yet been equipped should please be placed at the location of the grey garbage cans so that they are easily accessible.

What if my garbage can is not yet fitted with the transponder chip and barcode sticker?

For the time being, EBE will continue to attach notices to the garbage cans that are not equipped or could not be emptied, pointing out that there were discrepancies in the identification of the garbage can. The owners are then requested to contact the EBE Customer Service Centre to clarify the matter. This is because garbage cans that are not fitted with a transponder chip and barcode sticker must be confiscated after a transitional period.

Who decided that the garbage cans should be equipped with this system?

The decision was made by the city of Essen. Entsorgungsbetriebe Essen has been commissioned to carry out the work.

Will the ID system increase waste fees?

No. The introduction and operation of the identification system are free of charge for the citizens of the city of Essen. The system will also not lead to an increase in waste fees.

Is my personal data stored on the chip or sticker?

No. The identification features of the sticker only contain the address and the garbage can ID number. Personal data of the subscribers is not included. The identification system is already in use in other municipalities and districts and meets all data protection requirements.

Do I have to have my garbage cans equipped?

The City of Essen, as the public waste disposal authority, is entitled to specify waste collection procedures. It did this on the basis of a council resolution dated 14.06.2022, submission 0871/22, and commissioned Entsorgungsbetriebe Essen to introduce an identification system. This results in your obligation to cooperate.

When will the identification system be used?

The identification system has been in use since the beginning of January 2024 and was tested until March to ensure its reliability. From 2 April 2024, the system will be armed in stages. The emptying of garbage cans without a transponder chip and barcode sticker will continue to be guaranteed for a transitional grace period, but no longer thereafter.

How can I tell if my garbage can has a chip?

Once the installation team has installed the chip under the handlebar, a barcode sticker is affixed to the side of the garbage can, which must remain on the garbage can permanently.

Will the ID system change waste collection?

No. Nothing will change for citizens as long as the garbage cans have been successfully marked.

Does the system recognize when the garbage can may be emptied?

Yes, the system in the waste collection vehicle receives the current data before each tour. Only the garbage cans that are registered in the system and fitted with a transponder chip are emptied. Garbage cans reported missing and garbage cans without a chip can generally no longer be emptied in future.

Will my waste be weighed or recorded by the system?

The identification system only enables the recording of emptying. Waste and weights are not recorded.

Can additional quantities of waste still be disposed of?

Yes, residual waste sacks can be purchased at the usual locations for temporary excess quantities and provided in normal household quantities when the garbage cans are emptied.  

Why is the yellow garbage can not equipped?

The company Remondis was commissioned to empty the yellow garbage can in Essen, which is why the yellow garbage can is not included in being equipped. The yellow garbage can is a private-sector system and not part of the municipal garbage can system.

How can I prevent my garbage can from being confiscated?

Anyone who now realizes that their garbage can is not equipped with the transponder chip and barcode sticker can still register it and have it assessed as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to use our online order form or call the EBE Customer Service Centre on 0201/854-2121.

Do you still have questions?

You are welcome to contact our customer service centre. You can reach Entsorgungsbetriebe Essen by e-mail at and by telephone on 0201/854-2121.