Sunday, August 27, 2006

Absolute Rubbish

Do our new “Wheelie Bins” have a spy chip built into them? Does anyone know?

The Independent on Sunday reports 500,000 wheelie bins are being fitted with special microchips to monitor the amount of waste discarded by householders.

Councils say they are necessary to gather data about people's rubbish disposal habits and are also a vital tool in settling disputes over bin ownership. But experts are warning that these bugs, which transmit information to a central database, could be used to fine those who exceed limits on the amount of non-recyclable rubbish that they put out.

About 500,000 bins across England already carry the electronic devices which are slightly bigger than a one-pence piece and are screwed into a plastic recess in the lip of the wheelie bin. As the bin is lifted up for emptying by council workers, a sensor on the refuse truck scans the chip, which carries a serial number assigned to each property in the street. This then enables the monitoring equipment to identify the bin's address and record the weight of the rubbish that is in the bin.

According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, a computer inside the truck weighs the bin as it is raised up, then subtracts the weight of the bin itself and records the weight of the contents on an electronic data card.

Once the truck returns to the depot, all information collected is downloaded onto a central computer. Householders can then be billed for the amount of waste that has been collected from them, even though they have already paid for rubbish collection services through their council tax.

The chip itself costs around £2 to make but the cost of fitting the equipment to a council dustcart is around £15,000.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful world we live in! Big Brother now wants to monitor my rubbish and justifies it on the grounds of charging or monitoring or whatever good reason they can come up with and have the technology to do it. Great!

Many people in Thanet throw their rubbish onto the verges of the lanes in Birchington already, so this monitoring for charging can be easily circumvented by dropping black bags of rubbish anywhere but in your electronically tagged wheelie bin.

If I passed a very strong magnet over the chip would it render it useless? Any technical advice on how to scupper this intrusion into my life without physically removing it would be welcome!

Anonymous said...

The government wants to bring in electronic, GPS based 'pay as you go' tax discs, so that people are only charged for the road mileage they use. Not a bad idea, really. But what else would these black boxes record? Whether you broke the speed limit on particular roads, for example? My satnav knows exactly how fast I'm going, but I'm not sure I'd want it grassing me up to the government!

Anonymous said...

Theirs a chip in my toilet. Do you mean to say its recording how many times I use and it can tell if its urine or stools?

Anonymous said...

As expected, the ususl hysterical responses from posters on this site.

If people were a bit more responsible and proactive in taking basic steps to recycle their hosehold rubbish, then these steps would not be necessary.

Anonymous said...

I used to have my car serviced at a garage in Redhill. It was in the sticks and meant a trek cross country on foot. The amount of rubbish in ditches and in the gutters that is not noticeable from the driver's seat of a car was unbelieveable. Car batteries, rotting arm chairs, the occasional fridge. All this stuff leaking into a ditch full of running water and going to water treatment plants eventually and then into our bodies. If nothing else, a visit to the refuse depot once a week at least helps dispose of car batteries, fridges, plastics etc responsibly.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is a chip in the bind flange, and I am told there are cameras on the new dust carts. The chips appear to be under the lip flanges and look like a black moulded hexaginal nut I assume an alan key could be used to remove it. Does any body know if we have the right to remove it ? since each bin is marked with a personal number there should be no need for the chip. Now we can understand why the dustmen will not take black bin bags beside the bins....
Does the council have the right to do do this? if not we should remove the chips or swap them with othe bins? Maybe tin foil will confuse ?

Anonymous said...

T

Anonymous said...

HELLO Anonymous 10:49

CHILL OUT: if you read the list below Dr Moores picture (right hand side of site) it states HUMOUR I have already stated on this blog site "For a family of 6 (six) I put out 1 (one) Tesco bag per week of rubbish" My dustbin is put out every other week and I don't live in a wheelie bin area. So how much rubbish you give out is a joke. How much more responsible shoul I be.

CS

Pedagogue said...

10.49, "the usual hysterical responses"? 8.41's post is not hysterical and is quite humorous.
10.24's post is a cracker of a joke and not hysterical so that leaves 8.16's post. Clearly some-one who objects to levels of surveillance that now exist in Britain and maybe he/she has a point as the Mail on Sunday ran this item today and I found it slightly odd that householders with these bins were unaware of the attached chip. 8.16 also comments on the easy way to circumvent monitoring; fly tipping.

Where is the hysteria in the 3 posts before yours as I am unable to see it?

Your post makes a valid point about the lack of responsibility by many householders in regard to recycling but is spoiled by its rude and unecessarily offensive opening sentence. This distracts attention from the point you are making.

Anonymous said...

A question for "Ask Sandy" here, Dr Moores?
Has TDC been using 'chipped' bins in its trial? Does it intend to use chipped bins? Does their leaflet contain any info on chips if they are 'chipped'?

Anonymous said...

Sorry 11.55, I missed the point that your TDC bin is already 'chipped'. Were you made aware of this for the trial? If not, why not? It seems to be a reasonable question to ask TDC why it has introduced a surveillance device onto other peoples private property without consulting them?

Anonymous said...

Oh My God ... think of the vandals and antisocial behaviourists ... walking (staggering) home from the pub on a wet night - opening all the wheelie bins and letting the rain water in ... will we have to pay for the extra weight??
Steve

Anonymous said...

In answer to 5.20 pm, we were not made aware that our new wheelie bins would be fitted with a bug, TDC did send out a aheet advising of collection date and a questionaire after several months but items of literature did not mention anything about monitoring or recording our household or recycle waste in a "blue" bin. I was told by a friendly dustman that each new dustcart had a camera fitted to record out rubbish. I think we need to know from a "legal beaver" if we are within our rights to carefully remove the chip or bug? Are the bins now ours or do they belong to TDC, purchased with our rates!

Anonymous said...

Clearly time to talk to our Ward Councillors and ask them why residents have not been told the whole of the story in respect of our wheelie bins. If what appears to be the case is confirmed, I for one am very annoyed.

James Maskell said...

Im not entirely sure whether this is a true story or whether its a ridiculously early April Fools...

Anonymous said...

Sadly it is true at least in Peterborough and more than likely here. A chip in your wheelie bin today and cameras and microphones in your house tomorrow?

The state can monitor my movements on foot or by car; monitor what I watch on TV; pool all the data each of its Depts has on me; examine my bank accounts; monitor what I spend and on what I spend it; record my telephone and WWW comms and now it can monitor my rubbish! We are only 20 years into the micro-chip revolution and I guarrantee that my children will be micro-chipped like our pet dog in the next 20. If we have the technology to monitor 30m vehicles on the roads its only a small step to monitor 60m people in a similar way. Thank god I will be dead by then.

Anonymous said...

I note that our 1(one) MP (who has subscribed to this site) has not made a comment on this issue. Perhaps Dr. Moores could get a comment from him considering he, Sandy and Ingrid are all friends. Perhaps someone could tell me if it is Law or even a Bye Law that we have to use these bins (it would be interesting to see the White Paper on this issue).My thought is that it is a convenience and an encouragement for us to recycle. My view is that as we are property tax payers and our property tax has paid for them, these bins belong to us therefore we can do as we wish with them. To this end I will put my lavatory humour inside. My apologies to those I offended.

CS

Anonymous said...

anon again!

I laughed at the chip in the WC! Thanx!

The chip on your bin measures the weight of your rubbish, so that when the truck is correctly filled (weight wise) it can be driven safely to the tip for emptying. In the old days, trucks holding too much weight were often breaking up as they drove along.
It also measures how many times it empties. For instance, a small household will perhaps have say 20Kg of rubbish every 4 weeks, but a larger family of 6 may have 60Kg every 2 weeks. When the larger family goes away for a month's holiday, it will make a huge difference to the loading procedure of the truck. (this actually happens during school holidays with thousands of such families).
I think that we will be eventually be charged, through our Council Tax, for the exact weight of our rubbish collected! (Why should 2 people pay the same amount as a family of 6?)
Measures to be taken could be to leave as much packing material at the supermarket you buy from. They need to have various containers available so we can deposit our rubbish wrappings there and then. Another alternative is less packaging in the first place. ie. we don't need cornflakes in a cardboard box AND a plastic bag, the plastic bag would suffice. We certainly don't need tins.... recyclable glass could be used for everything you need a tin for.
The Germans even have a "container deposit", this being 50 cents on tins, bottles, even drink cartons. This is refunded by the shop you bought at. This manouvre cut their discarded rubbish down by billions of tons a year, and virtually stopped roadside rubbish except McDonalds bags (but they get fined individually for each chucked bag).

I think we're headed the German way !!!!!!

James Crankell said...

I wont be holding any conversations near to my wheelie bins when they arrive because they might be listening in ready to grass me to the nearest community support officer! Why don't the council put chips in the CCTV cameras to collect information on people committing anti social beahaviour ?

James Maskell said...

"ready to grass me to the nearest community support officer"

I doubt the PCSO will be able to do much about it, given the lack of powers they have.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please confirm if we are within our rights to remove the bug?

Anonymous said...

Something else to thank Europe for along with the new Post Office rules fiasco. I don't object to this in pricipal, but where I take issue is with extra charges if you put out too much waste. My wife and I put out on average one bag of rubbish per week. We recycle paper and glass etc. Oh and we have jobs. My neighbours (two adults, two children) put out about seven or eight bags a week. They don't work and are on welfare so if they are liable to extra charges who pays? The posters who mention fly tipping have hit the nail on the head. This will be the result of more half baked EU directives.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
Re: posting 7:33 AM

As the Council provide both bin & chip it would NOT be advisable to remove the chip. The Council would NOT pick up your rubbish. Easy!

Anonymous said...

this must be the labour group putting all this rubbish around ,nothing better to do i think

Anonymous said...

this must be the labour group putting all this rubbish around ,nothing better to do i think

Anonymous said...

No just rather pi***d off TDC Council Tax payers who do not like lack of consultation and openess in our local government. Isn't it odd how a Tory council behaves like its Labour Central Government?
'Stealth; decisions that ignore majority wishes; non-answers to quite precise queastions and perhaps a fair bit of sleaze to be revealed in due course. Dr Moore's quote of the day applies today!

James Maskell said...

The BBC reported on this on Sunday. Its a trial in three local Councils not the full national scheme, at least for the time being.

The IPPR think tank proposed this in response to the UK only recycling 18% of waste in 2003-4 one of the worst rates in the EU.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5291222.stm

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the one question we should ask is why are TDC importing the wheelie bins from mainland Europe when the are a number of UK manufacturers capable of manufacturing these bins, last year there were a number of French or German lorries delivering these bins to a temporany shed at Ramsgate harbour, before distribution, why did we not buy British?

Observer said...

Probably because they were three times the price and absolute rubbish ( pardon the pun)

Cllr David Green said...

Its taken some time,my apologies, but as far as I have been informed, the Thanet Council does have a large number of bins with the chips in, and no, residents were not informed before they took possesion of them.
Thanet has one truck with the equipment to read the chips, currently operating in Nethercourt. It is able to read date time, address and weight of the bin as it is emptied.
As the Council Officer delightfully put if you ring up to say your bin has not been emptied "we can scrutinise the truck on-line and will inform you that you will have to wait two weeks before it will next be emptied". I thought they did that anyway, but I may have missed something.

Thoroughly pi**ed off said...

Thanks for that Cllr Green. Why is it that TDC has not kept its council tax payers informed? I am horrified that a monitoring device has been inserted into citizen's bins without any information being provided to them. Would you please raise this with your colleagues who are meant to represent us and ask that an open policy might be in their interests as May 2007 approaches.

James Maskell said...

Dont things like this start from far higher up than the District Council? Anyone willing to bet the DCLG (what used to be Prescott's territory till he blew it) is behind this? I am.

The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill can make it illegal for anyone to remove these devices from the bins. The Government has been slapped down at every step trying to put this Bill through, which will sideline Parliament and give Ministers more power than theyve ever thought possible. 2 years in prison for removing a device, its a possibility here folks... 2 years for everyone...

Anonymous said...

The IOTG ran a small item on this and asked a TDC spokesperson if 'CAMERAS' were fitted to peoples wheelie bins.
'No CAMERAS on bins' was the reply and no plans to put 'CAMERAS on bins' was a further reply.

This little item was run under the heading "WASTE WATCH NOT FOR THANET".

Two points to ponder here. One, what a pointless silly question from IOTG; chips not cameras should have been the question?

Two, TDC spokesman replied truthfully to question put but did not offer any information on electronic chips fitted and scanners on TDCs nice new lorries.

When we have an inept local press and a secretive council, no wonder the people of Thanet are kept in the dark.