Chips in bins 'monitoring' recycling

MICROCHIPS fitted inside bins are being used to target those failing to recycle, it has emerged.Four councils in Suffolk - St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk and Waveney - all boast waste bins with electronic tags inside them which can be used to check how much rubbish is being thrown away in different neighbourhoods.

MICROCHIPS fitted inside bins are being used to target those failing to recycle, it has emerged.

Four councils in Suffolk - St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath, Mid Suffolk and Waveney - all boast waste bins with electronic tags inside them which can be used to check how much rubbish is being thrown away in different neighbourhoods.

Earlier this week the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced it would begin talks about allowing councils to offer financial incentives for recycling.

This sparked fears that micro-chipped bins could pave the way for individuals to be charged - on top of their council tax - for waste collections.


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That idea was last night ruled out by one Suffolk council - although it has emerged the chips are being used to pinpoint areas of low recycling.

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “We have no plans to introduce a charge by weight scheme as we are fully aware of the potential problems such an activity could cause.”

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But information from microchips is being used, she said, to highlight areas of low recycling and to use that information to pinpoint its recycling message campaign.

She said: “All of our blue bins for dry recyclables were already chipped when they were supplied to us by the manufacturer. Some of our brown composting bins are also chipped and all of our new bins come with chips in them.

“The information we get from the chips helps us measure participation in our recycling schemes. We can then assess where it would be best to use our resources.

“For example, the information helps us identify any area where the blue bins are not being used fully so we can promote our recycling scheme in this area and not in one where there is already 100% participation.

“Our recycling figures show there is a tremendous amount of support amongst our residents for the scheme we currently operate.”

Outlining his waste strategy this week, Environment Secretary David Miliband said key measures would include getting businesses and individuals to cut down on the waste they produce adding: “The result will be a win for individuals, who will have a cleaner, safer local environment, while potentially saving money, and a win for the wider environment because it'll reduce landfilled waste which contributes to climate change.”

Shadow Local Government Minister Eric Pickles said: “We face the prospect of bin chips quietly being fitted in bins across the country to spy on families without their knowledge.”

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