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back to article Dutch unleash intelligent robot bins: No ID, no rubbish

The Netherlands is rolling out intelligent bins that demand ID before accepting rubbish, and let the truck know when they need to be emptied, pointing towards the day when we'll all have to pay for the stuff we throw away. Altogether 6,000 intelligent bins are being deployed across The Netherlands, and green think tank …

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more intelligent rubbish containers

surely cry out for more intelligent rubbish?

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FAIL

Re: more intelligent rubbish containers

Since recycling is free, people will start putting trash into the recycling containers. That is as predicable as the sunrise.

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Re: more intelligent rubbish containers

Or they will just incinerate their rubbish.

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Re: more intelligent rubbish containers

Since recycling is free, people will start putting trash into the recycling containers. That is as predicable as the sunrise.

If they have to use ID to access the recycling bin as well then this sort of activity could be discouraged financially.

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FAIL

Right..

Won't this lead to a big increase in fly tipping, backyard burning etc etc?

As for 'reducing packaging', that falls into the same bin as 'reducing lorry miles'; all concerned have teams of people already working on that. Believe it or not, encasing stuff in packaging (and sending lorries down the road) costs surprising amounts of money, so companies who do such things already have a substantial interest in reducing both.

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Re: Right..

Is it really less hassle to drive your weekly domestic rubbish out to a country lane or burn it in the garden rather than sorting it into a recycling bin? People are lazy. They'll go for the easiest option.

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WTF?

Re: Right..

Yeah, first thing I thought after reading this was: "But surely people will just throw it on the ground?" Maybe it's ok for home use, but I personally don't see this working in the streets, people have enough difficulty getting their litter in the bin as it is, I really don't think it's a sensible idea to put an extra obstacle in the way of that, and then, essentially, penalise people for using the bins.

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Re: Right..

"Maybe it's ok for home use, "

This is for home use.

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Re: Right..

"But surely people will just throw it on the ground?"

This, pretty much. It just means that instead of swiping my ID and paying for trash removal, I'll take the 5 steps to the dumpster near the local convenience store/elementary school/whatever whenever I have something big. Not to mention that either the public bins on the street are locked down the same -- in which case tourists are forced to dump on the street where they stand -- or you can just toss crap there.

Another Dutch "innovation" from the guy who brought you the bicycle lane where you can't make right turns. Maybe that works in Holland too, but it sure as hell wouldn't work here (North America pour moi).

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Devil

Re: Right.. / @Some Beggar

Not just less hassle - it can actively contribute to the reduction of your heating bill.

Most wood burning stoves, fireplaces, etc can burn plastic too. Most of the plastic packing in use today burns quite nicely with little or no toxic fumes. Just do not burn electronics or cable insulation :)

The days when you could poison the entire neighborhood with the smoke from PVC packing are long gone. 99% of the packing now is polyethylene and friends. All you need to burn this one is sufficiently warm stove (or fireplace) and good supply of oxygen.

I burn 90%+ of my rubbish when I am at my summer house and it makes a very good contribution to the heating. I wish I could do it at my main one. Much better than burning it in the garden :)

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Re: Right., another dutch innovation

Like the speed camera.

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It might work in NL,

but I bet that in Britain it would just increase the amount of crap that is dumped in the countryside.

At the moment we have rules that prevent you borrowing a friend's trailer or van to take your washing machine, old mattresses, etc to the tip. As a result people dump it in the countryside - either directly, or by kidding themselves that the man-in-a-van who charges them a tenner will actually dispose of it properly. Builders who are supposed to be deterred by these rules could just buy a cheap knackered estate car for the very purpose of taking stuff to the dump.

Needless to say, it costs the council a hell of a lot more to collect this crap from woodlands, fields and verges, and in the meantime it spoils the environment for all of us. Any pilot scheme had better monitor the change in fly-tipping behaviour before any decision is made about introducing this sort of system.

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Re: It might work in NL,

Indeed...

For some reason local authorities can't seem to see the stupidity of excluding commercial waste from council tips (or charging them huge amounts) and then having to employ clean-up teams to patrol the area, find fly-tipping, dig through it trying to find something to link the rubbish to someone, failing, and then having to pick it all up and dump it properly.

I guess not enough fly-tipping occurs near their homes, maybe a list of addresses should be published (assuming that publishing that kind of thing isn't a terrorist threat these days?).

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Re: It might work in NL,

No it doesn't. Not even on holland. I know, i live there. It just happens as said here above: people are starting to dump en masse in the great outdoors... That's free(as long as you don't get caught) and as you all know: free is very popular in holland. It just takes 4 years for the politicians to notice(next term). This is a new development In a long ongoing war. First they raised the taxes on garbage. Result: people put their garbage in someone else's garbage can. Now this. Result: illegal dumping up by... A lot. Politicians...

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FAIL

would it work on parliamentary people?

if we tag all MP's could we put some of them in the bin?

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Anonymous Coward

Probably not such a great idea

Charging per kilo may encourage recycling while that is free, but only among the poorer inhabitants. Occasional checks in bins and warnings/fines are probably cheaper to implement and more egalitarian.

Where I live we use plastic bags for rubbish so there's no bin stealing. We are charged per bag os it's a cruder form of being charged per kilo but is much cheaper to implement.

As for reduced dustcart mileage.... I can't see how that could work. There's always enough bins out in my street to warrant a pick up.

Sounds to me like they've spent a tenner to save fifty pence.

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Re: Probably not such a great idea

"Sounds to me like they've spent a tenner to save fifty pence."

The article clearly states that the scheme has saved money.

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Re: Probably not such a great idea

"We are charged per bag os it's a cruder form of being charged per kilo but is much cheaper to implement."

I don't know whether my neighbours think we're charged by the bag or something, but frequently when I put my rubbish out at night I find a couple of bin bags stuck in front of my wall.

I don't give a damn at the moment because there's no charging for rubbish disposal, but if I end up paying for it I can see a game of "musical bin bags" in the future...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably not such a great idea

To address your point: The bags are bought in local shops and have to be ones with council markings (obviously the council insists that they're not so cheaply made that they are easily split and takes a little on top as their "tax").

So there's no point putting your bags out in front of your neighbours house!

I also noted that the article said they were saving money, my point was that I don't think they are, either they are not comparing properly or they are just playing with statistics. I haven't got any figures to prove it I was just thinking it through logically, hence my point about dustcart pick-ups.

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Unhappy

Saved money?

The interested parties would say that, wouldn't they? I mean, the company who provided this innovative new product would hardly put a bad spin on this?

The question is if all relevant costs have been taken into account.

Charging citizens through the nose for dumping their rubbish with this scheme may lead to a net "profit" for the city council.

Non-recyclable rubbish tipped into the recycling containers will lead to higher processing costs.

Etc.

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Re: Probably not such a great idea

I haven't got any figures to prove it

I wish more people would append their daft assertions with disclaimers like this.

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Big Brother

Re: Probably not such a great idea

The other advantage of the taxed bag system no-one seems to have picked up on is that it neatly sidesteps the whole creepiness of having to present ID to throw stuff out. I don't know how the Dutch do it, but if UK.gov implemented this, you can bet they'd want everything logged and made available to the authorities for fishing trips.

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Re: Probably not such a great idea

All that happens here is that people work out how to forge the all-important council markings if the charge is set too high. People already pay swingingly high Council Tax charges to local government which are supposed to cover this sort of thing; adding more tax on top is unlikely to be at all popular.

Charging by weight is also unlikely to be useful as people simply fly-tip heavy stuff in this case.

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Re:The article clearly states that the scheme has saved money

It says it saved £72,000. That's the 50p. It doesn't say how much they spent to get that saving. Usually such investment schemes take a few years to pay for themselves; not saying how many years is a bad sign. I very much doubt it paid for itself in one year.

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Re: Re:The article clearly states that the scheme has saved money

Yep, £72K probably on basic running costs, but those bins aren't cheap what with electricity to keep the computer going, GPRS connection costs, etc. So a huge amount of up front capital costs. All the high tech stuff liable to breakdown pretty quickly as all high tech stuff does. So maintenance costs probably not included either.

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Joke

May I welcome

our intelligent rubbish-bin overlords?

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Paris Hilton

What's the new part?

RFID bins have been around for a long time here (in the Netherlands) also due to fact that every local counsel tends to charge a different amount per time you open the bin. (some charge per time you open it, others a fixed fee per year, and others somewhere in between), so they would like to only collect from 'local people'.

I always thought the underground bins already had a data connection, but I guess that might the new part in this story (how they notify the trucks).

(by the way, there are also wheeliebins equipped with RFID to indicate the owner of the bin)

Given that you can drop the recyclables in a lot of places for free (electrical/electronic equipment, paper, glass, metal, plastic, greens) this does seem to increase recycling, by promoting separation and to only charge for the true waste.

Flytipping is not really such a big problem here as it seems to be in the UK (from what I've seen on telly at least, which might overstress the problem).

I don't have any real numbers on this though, and it might be a problem I'm not aware of in other areas in the Netherlands. (I'm really not an expert here, just somebody having to live with these bins for the last 12 years).

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JDX
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Re: What's the new part?

If recycling is free, don't you get people just dumping their trash into the recycle part?

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Re: What's the new part?

Most unattended recycle points are designed to fit only bottles, cans, flat cardboard, while the electronic/chemicals/greens and other large item recycle points are attended by personnel. It's not that you have one chute for waste, and dump another bag in the recyclables container.

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Re: What's the new part?

@JDX - you already do in the UK, and we don't get charged directly for each bin which is emptied. We currently have four different coloured wheelie bins for different waste, and the local council have to be pretty fascist about what goes in which.

Say I decide to put glass bottles in the paper bin, then that bin load I have put out for collection is contaminated. Once the binmen showve it all in the back of their truck then that whole truckload is counted as contaminated and cannot be recycled, meaning the company that collects the waste does not make the money they were forecasting on the refuse contract. So they, rightly, will work to find repeat offenders.

It has been described to me as they are able to work out which part of which street the offending contamination came from, narrowed down to a select few houses. Those few will be monitored and if it happens again and they find the culprit they get a nice letter through their door warning them of their actions and potential for the culprit to receive a bill for that waste which has been contamiated.

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Re: What's the new part?

Depends on the truck's route and the length of the street. Sounds like a scare story designed to make you comply. In reality they will just use RIPA to spy on everyone.

The problem with contamination is also why the multiple bins is the worst solution to the non-problem of recycling. Us householders are the least experienced people to work out which kind of product goes into which bin. Glass/paper/plastic is easy to differentiate. But not the different types of plastic, or different colours of glass, or the cardboard/paper. That's why the best solution would be for all non-food waste to go into one bin and for a few people to do the sorting. Or even a machine to do the sorting. Such machines already exist. That why contamination would not happen and the quality of the waste would be better leading to better rates being paid for the product.

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Are they still using anti-terrorism laws here to check you aren't trying to recycle food waste?

I thik TPTB will jump on the chance to get more data about what we got up to.

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Found it!

http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/ImgLibrary/recycling%20bins%20contamination%20Apr%2010_1820.pdf

This 2 page document has 2 paragraphs about the use of RIPA to observe people putting non-recyclable waste into recycling bins!

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Ongoing

This has been ongoing for at least 2 years that I know of in my own city, so it isn't all that new to be honest. These are mostly used in area's with apartment buildings or in older parts of the city, where fixed roadside communal bins are a waste of precious public space. Added bonus is that these bins can be emptied by a one person garbage truck, in stead of one with a driver and 2 collectors on the back.

For more rural area's we now have garbage trucks with a robotic arm, operated from within the cabin, and only one "helper" to line up the bins. The robotic arm automatically weighs the bin, scans the embedded rfid tag, and bill the corresponding household for the kg's of rubbish produced.

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Late to the game?

We've had such bins around here in Ljubljana, Slovenia for a few years now.

Can see them on the pic here:

http://www.jhl.si/snaga/locevanje

We have 5 containers with bio, paper, glass, plastics and other waste

Both bio and other waste require an RFID card to open.

My main issue with these is that the openings on the paper and plastics bins are to small for a lot of

the packaging bought in stores.

Do like them but as anything new there are a lot of people that simply refuse to use them and just put the trash next to them.

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Anonymous Coward

disposing of rubbish for free

It used to be considered a bad idea to buy a house with an old mineshaft in the back garden.

They'll become a highly-prized feature before long.

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Unhappy

Fly Tipping

by JR Hartley

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FAIL

Into the Canal Instead

Might work in the Netherlands, but in the UK :-

Quick glance around to check no-one looking, then chuck it into that canal.

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

You need some better friends. Nobody I know is that much of a dick.

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

Maybe if you live next to a canal... for me it would mean a 15 minute round trip (driving) to empty my bin... I dont think I could justify the time/fuel to save 0.5p per kilo or whatever the change would be..

you have to remember, our refuse collection is not free in the UK, you might not pay for it directly but part of your council tax is for refuse collection, so this may end up reducing CT charges (or at least it should).

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Facepalm

Re: Into the Canal Instead

"so this may end up reducing CT charges (or at least it should)."

Sorry, I just had to log in to laugh at this.

Hahahaha.

I feel much better now. Carry on.

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

People will carry a mattress a mile across fields and over a 2m fence to chuck in the local river rather than pay for it to be taken away.

Its a sad fact of life.

When I lived in Englandshire, it cost money to get any large items taken away. Fridges, beds, etc. So there were a lot of dumpers.

In the different Scottish cities I've lived in its been free to get them to uplift. Not so much dumping.

People will always go for the cheaper option.

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

@dotdavid

In the UK, council expenditure is public and local councils are elected on a rolling rosta. They're far more accountable than the westminster buffoons who are responsible for national spending. Taxes will go up, of course... them's the rules. But you'd be surprised how easy it is to point out specific financial waste and have it addressed.

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Anonymous Coward

- When I lived in Englandshire, it cost money to get any large items

- taken away. Fridges, beds, etc. So there were a lot of dumpers.

In my part of England it is free to have large items removed, you just have to leave them outside and let the council know to expect them.

There's still loads of fly tipping.

Personally I think night-vision-equipped snipers might be the answer.

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Headmaster

Re: Into the Canal Instead

Some Beggar wrote :-

"You need some better friends. Nobody I know is that much of a dick."

Who said anything about friends? Just look around to see dicks throwing things away, or the after evidence of it.

David Barrett wrote :-

"Maybe if you live next to a canal... for me it would mean a 15 minute round trip (driving) to empty my bin"

Er, I was thinking of the canal (?) in the background of the picture :-) As for 15 minutes round trip, it takes me 20 minutes each way to my local dump^H^H^H^H Recycling Centre and I will probably have queue for 15 minutes when I get there. Most people I know do not even know where their local dump is. Anyway, why is the local dump a work-around? - if they start charging even to throw away a lolly stick, be sure they will charge FAR more to take a car-load.

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

I don't see where the dump comes into it?

Refuse and recycling is collected from outside most peoples houses in the UK.

As for he canal, fair enough, didn't spot that, but wasn't he op talking about this scheme being used in the UK?

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Re: Into the Canal Instead

In my Defense I said should, I know that it won't happen!

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@AC 14:04

"In my part of England it is free to have large items removed, you just have to leave them outside and let the council know to expect them."

It was where I lived, as long as it was no more than three items per year. Chuck out your sofa and chairs and hope your fridge doesn't pack in for at least a year.

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"Charging people by the weight of rubbish they produce is an obvious step, and the only one which will make customers demand reductions in packaging. "

Or fly-tip. Or burn it in their garden surreptitiously. Or throw it over the back fence. Or dump it in a river. Or stick it in black bags, drive it across the border and throw it away in another country that doesn't charge. Sure, you'll catch some but if you have to PAY to throw things away and you have no money, what do you do? Do you create a health hazard and break the law, or do you throw it away by other means and break the law? And what if someone throws the rubbish into your garden? Are you going to want to pay to throw it away?

Why are governments so keen to charge us for the stuff we throw away? Isn't that what taxes are supposed to cover? And we *KNOW* what happens with recycled material in the UK, for instance. It was in the Metro just last week. About 90% of it is exported and/or buried. Only a tiny portion is actually recycled (and the export is usually to countries that just landfill and/or recycle very inefficiently once you consider the cost of transporting millions of tons of waste every year).

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We already pay to dispose of things - we just do it indirectly through council tax. This scheme apparently saves money.

It was in the Metro ...

Perhaps you should get your reactionary nonsense from a newspaper instead?

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