Is your bin bugged?

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Mojo

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ThisIsLondon said:
"Germans plant bugs in our wheelie bins"

Electronic spy 'bugs' have been secretly planted in hundreds of thousands of household wheelie bins.

The gadgets - mostly installed by companies based in Germany - transmit information about the contents of the bins to a central database which then keeps records on the waste disposal habits of each individual address.

Already some 500,000 bins in council districts across England have been fitted with the bugs - with nearly all areas expected to follow suit within the next couple of years.

Until now, the majority of bins have been altered without the knowledge of their owners. In many cases, councils which ordered the installation of the devices did not even debate the proposals publicly.

The official reason for the bugs is to 'improve efficiency' and settle disputes between neighbours over wheelie-bin ownership. But experts say the technology is actually intended to enable councils to impose fines on householders who exceed limits on the amount of non-recyclable waste they put out. New powers for councils to do this are expected to be introduced by the Government shortly.

But the revelation that the bins have already been altered ignited a 'Bin Brother' row over privacy and taxes. Conservative MP Andrew Pelling said burglars could hack into the computer system to see if sudden reductions in waste at individual households meant the owners were on holiday and the property empty.

He said: 'This is nothing more than a spy in the bin and I don't think even the old Soviet Union made such an intrusion into people's personal lives.

'It is Big Brother gone mad. I think a more British way of doing things is to seek to persuade people rather than spy on them.'

With the bugging technology, the electronic chips are carefully hidden under the moulded front 'lip' of wheelie bins used by householders for non-recyclable waste. As the bin is raised by the mechanical hoister at the back of the truck, the chip passes across an antenna fitted to the lifting mechanism. That enables the antenna to 'read' a serial number assigned to each property in the street.

A computer inside the truck weighs the bin as it is raised, subtracts the weight of the bin itself and records the weight of the contents on an electronic data card.

When the truck returns to the depot, all the information collected on the round is transmitted to a hand-held device and downloaded on to the council's centralised computer. Each household can be billed for the amount of waste collected - even though they have already paid for the services through their council tax.

Although the chip itself is worth only about £2, fitting the equipment to a dustcart costs around £15,000.

Town hall chiefs say the monitoring system will improve recycling rates by allowing them to identify areas which are not doing enough.

But critics believe the ultimate aim is to charge 'offenders' according to how much unrecyclable rubbish they leave outside for collection. Councils expect the Government to introduce laws soon to enable them to set limits on how much rubbish households put out, and fine those who exceed them.

Although there is no official timetable, Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw indicated the Government's approach this month when he admitted he was examining proposals for an extra tax on non-recyclable waste. Accusing those who fail to recycle household rubbish of behaving 'antisocially and irresponsibly', he said it was 'time to make the polluter pay'.

German firms spearhead initiative

Two German firms are in the forefront of companies cashing in on selling and fitting the wheelie-bin sensors: Hamburg-based Sulo operates in Crewe, Nantwich, Peterborough, South Norfolk and Woking, while rival Deister Electronic, whose headquarters are near Hanover, has been hired to tag bins in the Devizes area of Wiltshire.

The firms already operate similar systems across Europe.

The British Government's Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme, which came into effect on April 1, 2005, imposes a penalty of £150 a tonne on local authorities that dump too much waste in landfill sites.

Ministers say they must act in order to comply with the EC Landfill Directive, which sets targets for reducing municipal waste in EU member countries.

Deister manager Thomas Menzel said: 'A crucial element is the ability to identify specific bins and record when they are emptied. That information can be applied in many different ways.' Helmut Siegler, of German company C-trace, which is hoping to win UK contracts, said: 'What the councils do with the chips or transponders is their affair. They may decide to weigh the rubbish collected as businesses often do, or simply charge per collection.'

None of the German operators was willing to discuss its British operations in detail for fear of jeopardising potential contracts.

Details of the bugs emerged in Devizes only when a council official let slip about the secret implants during a recent Rotary Club dinner - more than a month after the new bins were introduced.

British firms were more open about their involvement in what promises to be a lucrative market.

Steve Foster, sales director of Bradford-based PM OnBoard, which fits weighing equipment to trucks and operates in Belfast and the Northumberland town of Alnwick, said his company already had a full database of names and addresses and was ready to start charging as soon as the law allowed it.

'The way to get people to recycle more is to measure what they collect and make them pay accordingly,' he said. 'People should be rewarded for putting out less waste and penalised for putting out too much.

'The technology doesn't enable us to differentiate between types of rubbish but we can measure the amount of waste in the bin. If a council were to ring and say "How about next Tuesday", we have the equipment in place to start right away.'

'Vital' to encourage recycling

Councils across Britain said it was vital to encourage more recycling. Ken Barnes, corporate director at South Norfolk Council, said: 'In order to change the hearts and minds of residents, we first needed to understand their recycling habits.

'The bins have been introduced to protect both our environment and our taxpayers. This has not been designed to embarrass people. We do not publish individual results, but we will use them to help us help those householders who would probably be able to recycle more.'

A spokesman for Crewe and Nantwich Council said: 'We can detect recycling participation rates. So if a particular street or district is doing particularly badly, we will go and have a chat with them.' Woking Council said: 'All the bins have been chipped but we are not using the technology yet because we have not got the vehicle and identification system which weighs them.'

Martin Smith, head of Environmental Services at Kennet District Council, which covers Devizes, admitted that residents had not been told their bins were electronically tagged. Nor is there any reference in documents about the council's waste-recycling strategy. There is nothing sinister about this,' he said. 'These are simply chips that will enable us to sort out disputes between householders about whose wheelie bin is whose. If there are any arguments we can just send out an officer to scan the chip and settle the argument.

'There is a debate in Government over the possibility of introducing charges but that's not what we had in mind when we ordered the chips.'

The Tories have already condemned the proposed charge as another New Labour tax-raising measure. And they warn that people will simply start dumping bags in their neighbours' gardens or at the end of the street to avoid paying.

Wiltshire farmer Tom Seaman urged residents to protest by unscrewing the bugs and sending them back to the council. Mr Seaman, who dumped a digger bucket-ful of uncollected bin bags on the town hall steps during last month's heatwave, said: 'This is a disgraceful backdoor policy. Monitoring devices have been secretly installed without a word of consultation or information. People should not damage council property but send these things back to their rightful owners and demand an explanation.'

Kennet Council chairman Gerry Knunkler said neither he nor council tax payers had been told about the true purpose of the bugs. 'I was assured these things were simply to ensure bins could be returned to the right addresses if they got mixed up or drunks rolled them off,' he said.

Kay Twitchen, of the Local Government Association, said: 'This technology would certainly help councils to levy charges on individual householders.'

Anyone who removed a bug and threw it away might not get their bins emptied, warned Paul Bettison, the Association's environment chief.

Mr Bettison, an advocate of charging, said: 'Removing one of these devices would not break any law as far as I know. But if in the future a local authority decided to charge for taking away rubbish, it would be within its rights to say to that person, If you don't want to pay, we don't want to provide you with a service.
But he admitted that at the moment no action could be taken against protesters.
I read about this in the local paper as our new green bins have been bugged.
They're found under the lip on the left hand side, mine isn't bugged, but the refuge for it is there.
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2006/08/349169.jpg
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2006/08/349314.jpg

You can remove the chip with a hammer and chisel apparently.
 
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eezypeazy

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Just imagine... if this chip is linked to the spy satellite that's going to be used to enforce road pricing, they can charge me a mileage rate every time the empty bin rolls away down the hill where I live!

If they can add the bugging device to my food, they can charge more accurately for sewerage services, too!

What is this modern obsession for measuring everything and charging for it? Just because the computer can do it, doesn't make it a good idea!

eezypeazy
 

nutter

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Mine was, little black circular blog that came out nice and easy with the aid of a hammer, chisel and a bit of grease down the side.

Only problem with mine is some tw*t has blunted the accses screw so i can't see whats inside
 

Ascot

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just rip the b*****d out put it in an envelope deposite waste in it send it back to Germany saying, "you send me your s*** i send you my ***t"
 

nutter

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I tried it without the grease and it wouldn't budge, so i got some old grease, but that in the edge, and chiseled it out. I wanted to try and get it out without damaging it so i could find out how it works, but the screw was so blunt my best philips couldn't get into the head, so i decided to put a hammer to it, you know, like you do, it wont be spying anymore.

I wanted to use the microwave, but after watching braniac and the fact the mic's under the main boiler i thought better of it
 
T

Tom

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Apparently there are some in our local council bins - I can't find any and we'll have to pay £28 if we remove them!
 

Coxster

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It's silly fining you for the amount of waste you put in your green bin as the stuff you are disposing of may not be recyclable. This will just encourage people to stick their waste in their recycle bin instead...

If you have bought your own wheelie bin isn't this technically criminal damage?
 

Nick W

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This is absolutely ridiculous.

Firstly the chip making factory wastes energy, not to mention the equipment on the lorries. Then you have the database computers, and the power to run them.

Next if you remove the chip, they council say they will throw out a perfectly good bin which could have been recycled, and give you a new bin with a chip in. :dontknow:

Now this has cost over £80,000, money which could have been used to improve recycling. Where I live, the dump is right in the corner of Felixstowe and favours car access. The car park by the railway station has some faciliities but nothing to put cardboard or recyclable plastic for recycling. Now Bourne is bigger so it may well be better, but I can't immagine it's perfect. Perhaps they should improve recycling facilities.

In short we Britons deserve long term solutions to everything. Not a quick fix solution (fines).

Less Stick More Carrot!!!!


Edit:, just thought of another problem. Fining will cause a war with people pouring stuff into other people's bins to escape fines.
 

ChrisM

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Bournemouth council have put them in the newly issued bins for waste and we have to use our 15 year old dirty bin for recycling.
Council are also going to weigh the bins and the dustbin men/women/cross breeds will reject any over a certain weigh.
Typical council they make the mistakes and everyone else has to pay for it.
 

ChrisCooper

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I don't think ours have got them yet, but it wouldn't suprise me if they do. Oviously this all comes down to the fact that they are soon going to start charging people depending on the weight of the bin. All it will do is cause people to put rubbish in other people's bins, put things in the recycling that shouldn't be, either to save money or because they'd rarther put things in the recycling that shouldn't be than risk putting things in the main bin that might be recycleable, or just dump it anywhere. Add to that that the system will probably be faulty, yet checking that you are being charged right will be very difficult, so people will probably get charged more than they should. Then again, a system that punishes those who don't make any effort to recycle, or are wasteful, can't be bad. Our wheely bin rarely gets that full. Of cource, large families will be hit, but I think it's time they started to realise that it's their choice to have lots of children, so they should be prepared to accept the consequences.
 

ChrisM

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Oviously this all comes down to the fact that they are soon going to start charging people depending on the weight of the bin.
On top of the already high council tax no doubt.

I don't mind recycling nor do my kids but most items aren't recyclable and we wash it and recycle it and the council sell it on and pocket the cash for themselves.:angryfir:
 

TheSlash

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I'm really disappointed. I checked my own bins and my best mates bins, and nothing. Interesting though, as my best mate says his parents have recieved vouchers rewarding them for they're lack of waste {my mate's dad puts all the empty tins in other peoples bins}
 
H

HR2

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I remember that some councils in this country had re-cycling centres. They were at the dustcart depots and had staff taking all the useful stuff out and burning the rest. The HSE [another bloody useless crowd] or somesuch closed them down. I dunno why. North Tyneside definitely had one and so did Newcastle.I remember seeing those on the local TV evening news in the 90's. I don't mind the council selling on what they collect as long as it keeps the damn council tax down.

Having said that I don't hold out much hope as with the people who run the show nowadays as, having had their brains re-cycled and lost out on the deal, they won't know the difference.
 

ChrisM

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Beware Bournemouth council are charging £28 to replace a chip and if you don't pay they will add it to your council tax bill.
 

Tom B

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If they can add stuff to the council tax bill, then can we deduct it? That'll be deductions for the fact that there are potholes all over the roads around here, the thorn clippings all over the pavement and road, the defective street lamp, the council litter dumped in a corner of the field...

Plus RFID chips are a lot cheaper than £28 and arent exactly an integral part of the bin.
 
H

HR2

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Well I for one won't pay twice for my rubbish collection I shall just take it up the street and dump it in the pavement waste bin. They can throw me is bloody jail like they do the old biddys who don't pay exorbitant council tax. I shall be a 'bin bug basher'
 

Nick W

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I guess what is amusing is people don't mind their credit cards chipped
Preventing fraud, also prevening people from using fake credit cards on (offline) Avantix machines as the chips cannot be copied.

or their mobile phones, 4 million CCTVs on the streets of London and so on..
A mobile phone needs chips to functions, as do the modern remote controlled camreas.

when it comes to chipping of people's old beer cans, and twix wrappers..

RIP EM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't think a beer cans and twix wrappers need chips to preserve the food. I'm also quite happy for shops top put chips on items to deter theft as they can then lower prices.
 

Mojo

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If anyone had any intent on "stealing" a wheelie bin, then they'd just remove the chip.
Talking of people stealing pointless things, why do people steal letters off the side of buildings, what use are people going to do with the letters off the side of a building?
Though it was funny when my local supermarket became MOR ONS.
 
H

HR2

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If anyone had any intent on "stealing" a wheelie bin, then they'd just remove the chip.
Talking of people stealing pointless things, why do people steal letters off the side of buildings, what use are people going to do with the letters off the side of a building?
Though it was funny when my local supermarket became MOR ONS.

Or even ADDING ones. When 'To Let' becomes 'Toilet'
 
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