back to article Sneaky bin chipping still in the bag for

A government announcement today that it is scrapping plans to penalise householders for not recycling scores eight out of ten for effort – but it may not go far enough to appease the civil liberties lobby. Your bins will still be microchipped, and - whether you like it or not - your household waste habits will still be …


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  1. ShaggyDoggy


    "it is likely that councils will still have to collect data from all bins, and therefore all households, in order to select out data relevant to those who are opted in"

    No ... those who opted out have bins without chips in .... derrrrrr

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


    Round where we live, we have just discovered that all the green bin day recycling waste has been going to the same land-fill as the black bin general waste for the last few years, yet they are still pushing people to only put the right stuff in the right bins etc.

    Hypocrits the lot of them.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    What's wrong with this picture...

    In the old "stick" scheme, one of the objections levelled against it would be that weighing bins and punishing people for having too much waste would encourage fly-tipping. In the new scheme however we're going to reward people for recycling. So one of two scenarios now appears apparent:

    a) They reward people for putting LESS stuff in their bins, weighing less (hence "recycling" more)... which will, err... encourage empty bins and fly tipping!


    b) They'll reward people for having MORE stuff for recycling. So then people will start nicking next door's recycling stuff and putting it in theirs, or leaving bottles half full etc., creating a whole new "benefit scam" recycling fraud.

  4. Richard Porter

    RBWM Scheme a Travesty

    The Royal Borough's scheme, run by an American company, is a joke. Instead of encoraging residents to produce less rubbish, it merely encourages them to put more in the recycling bin. I generate very little rubbish, typically putting my bins out every four or five weeks. I recycle as much as possible, and would recycle more if the council wasn't so picky about what can be recycled - plastic bottles OK but other containers made out of the same plastic aren't accepted.

    Moreover the scheme is open to abuse. I could easily pick up catalogues from Argos and put them straight in the recycle bin. I could have an arrangement with an opted-out neighbour. He would use my recycling bin whiolst I would use his wheely bin. We need to reward people for generating less rubbish, not for recycling more regardless of what goes to landfill.

    1. Arthur Jackson

      Wot He said


      I was trying to formulate a response to the article about not consuming as much being greener than recycling, you have put it more eloquently than I could - here's a pint

    2. It'sa Mea... Mario

      That would require..

      use of logic!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Opt out method

        Or you could opt out if you know someone with a really big microwave, pop the bin in there for 30 seconds and fry the RFID chip. There's a way to do it using a normal microwave but it requires modification that makes it dangerous to operate.

    3. Michael 28

      I Agree!

      As a Maidenhead resident, I was very dissapointed with the con-servatives when they ..finally... introduced the scheme. M&S vouchers and coffee vouchers? (No Lidl, Asda,Tesco vouchers? or how about some of MY cash back? )

      Asda reading has a pretty decent recycling area, unlike Sainsburys maidenhead. or Tescos.

      My workplace also has decent recycling, so if I prepare food at work, i generate little waste.

      In fact , the only thing I use is the civic amenity site in stafferton way for garden waste and white goods disposal .Haven't put a bin out since September 2008, after i got a snotty note about not putting stuff in the correct container.

    4. Graham Bartlett

      @Mr Spoon

      Where's this then?

      It's certainly a very common claim used by people to justify not sorting out recycling. It's entirely possible that whilst recycling is getting up to speed in an area, stuff will get landfilled until everything is fully working. It's also possible that this could happen if they simply get overloaded - recycling paper and cardboard after Xmas, for example.

      But councils are now being very heavily penalised for not recycling (per ton of rubbish landfilled), so it hits them right in the pocket if they don't. That's a strong incentive for them to get it right. Oh, and it's an incentive for you to recycle too, bcos your council tax is paying for this.

    5. loopy lou

      Well said

      Heard Pickles on the radio today: some guy who'd done a study of schemes elsewhere in Europe said more or less that rewards are OK, bit they're not the whole answer because they don't give people an incentive to produce less waste. Pickles came on and said "bloody ridiculous" and started ranting about tesco cards and said he believed in treating people with respect bla bla.

      If this is the intellectual level of our elected representatives then I despair.

    6. Jane Fae

      Not really you foresee councils of the future buying in two types of extra cost...and wheeling a new bin round to a resident every time they opt in - or out - of the scheme?

      I can see it would work. Can't see councils buying the costs, though.


      1. Charley 1

        If they're like the ones we have

        You'd just pop the RFID chip in or out of the chip nest (under the rim near the lid. Always wondered why those rings were there, didn't you?)

  5. Graham Dawson

    And the money for this comes from...

    ... where? I know it won't be from "recycling" since most of it ends up in landfill anyway (thus incurring an EU-imposed landfill tax - which is why the push for recycling has been so voluble and vigorous to start with) or ends up being stored in huge warehouses while it waits for a slow boat to China. None of which brings in money.

    So where does the money come from? I'd have to assume it comes from taxation of some form. This is going to add another cost burden to a state that is already faced with a huge spending deficit.

  6. Jon Gaul
    Dead Vulture


    I was watching an interview with someone who was running the pilot of this just this morning, and he categorically stated that they are not chipping bins unless you opt in.

    I will normally defend El Reg where others wouldn't, but seriously, OTT much?

  7. Christoph Silver badge

    Rewards for recycling?

    So what they're saying is that they'll pay me to nip out just before the recycling collection and move all the stuff in my neighbour's recycling box to my box?

    Still at least they're not (yet) planning to charge us for disposing of junk mail and leaflets.

    1. Rogerborg

      Oh ye of little imagination

      "So what they're saying is that they'll pay me to nip out just before the recycling collection and move all the stuff in my neighbour's recycling box to my box?"

      Pfft, think outside the bin. Swap your RFID chip for theirs, then tell them that you're not registered and offer to put most of your recycling in their bin. They'll thank you for stealing from them.

      Of course, you'd have to have the morals of a cabinet minister to do it.

    2. John I'm only dancing

      Opt out, opt in, either way, not on my bin

      My wonderful local council has opted everyone in by sneakily fitting the chip into black, blue and green bins. Well tough for them because I have removed them from mine, It's not difficult. A knife gets them out in about five seconds.

      They are located under the rim at the rim at the front in one of the circular slots.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should be fun...

    Apart from anything else, Mr "Fatty" Pickles' own constituency doesn't actually have wheelie bins, so I'm sure the local cash strapped council (Cons) are going to be overjoyed to have to provide them.

    The other, blindingly obvious, problem is how do they know what proportion a household recycles? I have a compost heap, so compost-able things go on there. As do my shredded documents (because the council refuse to recycle shreddings, and I refuse not to shred anything with my details on it!).

    Compare my rubbish bag heap to my neighbours and my household produces less than 50%, despite containing the same number of people, but due to the lack of huge bags of grass cuttings and food waste the proportions really don't work in my favour.

    Last thing is once they have the bin issue sorted out is it will take the bin men far longer to do their rounds. At the moment they wander along the road and grab solo bags, adding them to their own bin men wheelie bins. Only taking them to the lorry once full. If every thing has to be weighed, each household's bin is going to have to be taken to the lorry one by one... (Actually two by two of course).

    At the moment mine really are a well coordinated example of a slick operation. Time and motion studies wouldn't be able to streamline anything in the collection stage.

    Oh well, guess I'll be throwing household rubbish in the neighbours bin then... Or maybe just swap the chips to swing the general/recycle ration more in my favour.

  9. BingBong

    What a load of rubbish! Opt in is easy ...

    Councils could send out sticky RFID chips which an individual household could decide to stick on their bins or not, thereby opting in as they wish. I believe some of the bins have a hole in which an encased chip can be easily placed in anyway.

    It is rubbish (pun intended) to say that *everyone* must have their bins chipped in order to be able to reward people ... only those who physically opt-in need them ... just like loyalty cards (which are all opt-in), you get something if you do something and get nothing if you can't be bothered. It is self-policing as well because people will want to check online that their bins are being properly recorded so they get rewarded ... again no need to chip every bin, only those that are interested in getting something for recycling will need the chipping.

  10. Rogerborg

    Aw, bless their little ranting socks

    But... but... then The Man will KNOW HOW MUCH WE'RE THROWING OUT! The Man! Throwing out! He'll know!

    Well, yes, he will, but he really, really doesn't care - beyond using it to tax you - any more than The Man cares now how much gas or electricity you use.

  11. Rob

    Hardly inclusive

    What about the communities that don't have bins and are still putting their rubbish out in bags, logic dictates that they can't opt-out or opt-in for the incentive.

  12. DominicT

    Tax on the selfish

    So, charging for waste generation is a "punitive and vindictive tax", eh? Can Alex Deane tell us how it's 'vindictive' that people who generate waste should pay to dispose of it, when the alternative is that we all subsidise them?

    A tax or charge on non-recyclable waste is absolutely fair. Those of us who make an effort not only to recycle, but to choose products that have minimal unnecessary or unrecycable packaging are going to end-up subsidising the landfill habits of the lazy and selfish. I bet these people who go on about a 'rubbish tax' are the same people who bang-on about 'people on benefits' and the money they cost too. They are no better. Either recycling and reduce your waste or pay your way to bury it without burdening us taxpayers who actually care about something other than our wallets.

  13. ad47uk
    Thumb Down

    no space for bins?

    so what happens if you got no space for bins?

    i got steps at the front of my house and the only place a wheely bin could go i have got a caravan on it.

    1. Michael 28

      I can see a problem.

      1. Councils post out RFID tags.

      2. Daily mail readers throw a strop , throw RFID chip into bin in disgust.

      3. DOH!

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge


      Um, put your rubbish in the caravan?

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      Because it's totally unenforceable?

      OK, vindictive it might not be, but hopelessly expensive and ludicrously impossible to enforce it is. That's why it should be dropped completely.

    4. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      How about instead:

      Impose a tax on those who produce unnecessary packaging (supermarkets, I'm looking at you). This gets passed onto the consumer. Consumer notices that heavily packaged goods are more expensive, and buys goods with less packaging. Less rubbish ends up in bins.

      There is no reason it is necessary to package things like fruit and veg into little polystyrene trays and cover them in shrink-wrap. Supermarkets do this entirely for their own convenience. People might suggest that wrapping things keeps them fresher, but I would counter this with the observaion that a lot of perishable goods 'sweat' when shrink-wrapped, which allows bacteria and fungi to break them down faster.

    5. bennett_1357

      Moaning by the retarded....

      The spanner in your argument is that the "people on benefits" pay nothing in to the council tax pot, whereas the people moaning about the waste tax are being sucked dry year after year by ever increasing council tax bills. Waste collection and water are the only council services I avail myself of. Living in Scotland I downright object to having to pay for water, let alone having to pay more for waste disposal!

      Here have a grenade - do the world a favour and recycle yourself.......

  14. A J Stiles


    Someone who uses energy-saving light bulbs and switches off appliances at the wall when not in use pays less for their electricity than someone who leaves filament light bulbs and electric heaters blazing away in unoccupied rooms.

    Someone who has a high-efficiency combination boiler and TRVs on all radiators pays less for their gas than someone who leaves pans uncovered and has an inefficient, permanent-pilot boiler with a poorly-insulated, gravity-fed hot water cylinder.

    So why the hell should I pay the same amount to have a two-thirds-full wheelie-bin removed every six weeks, as somebody who puts out an overflowing wheelie bin every single week?

    The "chip" in the bin is just a machine-readable version of the house number people usually paint on them anyway.

  15. Dave Murray
    Thumb Down

    Communal bins?

    How are they proposing to deal with communal bins used by blocks of flats and tennements? My close has 3 normal bins and 2 recycling bins between 8 flats, none of which have designated flat numbers on them. Who would they reward in this case?

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
      Thumb Up


      I live in a flat. We have six wheelie bins, and a number of black recycling boxes and brown compost bins, in a communal bin store, shared by three houses and six flats, which are themselves different sizes. How would one suggest to equitably share the rewards, or more importantly, the penalties (as these would surely follow) imposed by any such scheme.

  16. Nuke


    Charging people for taking their waste will lead to a very simple and obvious result. They will put in their car boot, drive to a lay-by or other spot where they think they can't be seen, and dump it. Soon there would be rubish everywhere.

    And what does "recycling" now mean? It seems to have degenerated into a synonym for "rubbish" - eg at work, what were once "rubbish bins" are now called "recycling bins". How exactly is this stuff "recycled"? Who really separates the diverse stuff my council asks for in a purple bag ("all containers") into the separate materials? Armies of Chinese 8 year-olds from what I've heard; who else could or would do that work? Or is it just shipped to China to be dumped in holes and back-yards there?

    I really would like to see some investigative journalism on what happens to "recycled" stuff, instead of the constant greenwash pured down our throats.

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge


      Fly tipping is illegal. Get caught doing it once, and pay a very hefty fine.

      1. Nuke

        They have to be caught first

        A guy in Bristol was making his living by advertising a "recyling" service, but dumping it in all sorts of places in the city, quite openly. Got away with it for years.

        A lot of things are illegal (think parking, speeding, making excessive noise), but people do it, and they get away with it. The incentive to fly tip will be massive, and to millions of people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Most of the sorting is done in our own country (UK) by machine, with the bulk of sorted materials then exported - the recycled materials are 'raw' materials after all, so they're exported to the biggest manufacturing producers (mainly China) in the same way that other raw materials are.

      That some councils are still asking people to sort materials themselves means that they are using less sophisticated recycling facilities. Councils who ask you to put all recycling material into a single bin are using more advanced/automated recyclers, the output of which will see about 95% of the material supplied recycled - the remaining 5% being material that cannot yet be recycled efficiently or is too contaminated to recycle (ie food packaging not washed out).

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Thanks a lot!!

    I recycle practically everything I can manage. The puny little recycling bin I got off the local council couldn't hold a hamster's fart so I end up loading my car up once a week with at least 7 bin bags of plastic and cardboard taking it to the local point myself, at my expense. I tried putting out 4 bags of plastic and cardboard and one box of tins, all I got was a snotty yellow sticker slapped on my bags saying, "Reason for refusal: Too much for one house!". WTF?! You've got a fecking 7 ton truck with huge bins in the back to collect it?!

    Upshot of this is I make a massive effort and get bugger all for it! Alright so personal gain is not something we are doing this for, but I will still end up on the blacklist same as the dirtbag three doors down from me who puts everything he throws out in his general rubbish bags, never even recycling so much as one little plastic bottle!

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Obvious flaws

    Unless we are to have lockable bins then the moving of point-scoring recycled waste to our own bins and moving of penalised waste to others is going to happen. If they don't chip all bins, even better, it makes it a victimless crime.

    Waste which is detrimental to an 'owner' and cannot be passed onto someone else will be burned, buried, fly-tipped, will drip-feed into public waste bins or simply be pushed through the nearest hole of recycling points or post boxes.

    Myself and neighbours used to have a nice collective waste management system running where we would fill one bin before starting on the next. That maximised bin use, minimised bin movement and emptying plus saved time and cost for the collection agencies and council. The mere mention of intended chipping and charging individuals by our council brought that to a crashing halt. A brilliant shot in their own foot.

    Where I live, mainly a Victorian terraced area, what was once a relatively nice place now looks like a South African township with the numerous different bins imposed on us littering gardens and street as there simply is nowhere else to put them. It's an utter eyesore and has led to a domino -like collapse in the state of the area which could now, and quite fairly, be called a slum.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Just tried to get the wheelie bin in the microwave to fry the chip, didn't fit, anybody got a bigger microwave?

    1. Rebecca 1

      7 bin bags of rubbish?

      In one week? How are you doing that? Or are you having regular deliveries from HP?

  20. ElFatbob

    Meanwhile, in the real world...

    If you want to tackle the rubbish problem, you need to tackle the supermarkets.

    I don't know the exact figure, but i'd be surprised if less that 70% of what we send to landfill comes from supermarkets. No wonder they are so keen to stop us using plastic bags (not in itself a bad idea) - keeps the heat off the real issue - the vast amount of packaging used for everything else.

  21. Michael 82

    Epic fail

    I for one would only end-up burning everything thats burnable in my open fire..

  22. Thecowking

    Sweet furry jesus

    Could you lot whine more?

    I mean if your neighbour moves your rubbish from your bin to his and you miss out on the amazing tenner a month because of this (at the absolute upper limit nearly), I can see that it's both a travesty against natural justice and a massive, gaping hole in your finances. Clearly this is the first step in the barcoding of all people and their posessions. Probably RFID us too.

    It's a pilot scheme in one area, if there are flaws in the scheme, this is where they'll be found out. Possibly it might even work. Who knows? As it stands it only affects people who want to give it a go. Look at it like a scientific experiment to test a hypothesis, if it doesn't work, the hypothesis will be shown to be false.

  23. Just Thinking


    I can see where the idea came from. Supermarkets tried to charge 1p for carrier bags, but then realised it is better PR to give 1p back to people who reused bags (no doubt upping the price of something to retrieve the money).

    But as others have said this doesn't work for recycling because it penalises those who takes steps to avoid wasteful packaging in the first place - the very thing we really want people to do.

    Our council have introduced bins for green waste, so I suppose at some point in the future I will lose out financially for having the cheek to compost my own potato peelings.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You think the supermarkets are in to look green?

      Based on my commercial buying experience, a company like Tescos probably pays at most £1 per 1000 for the carrier bags of the type they used to give away. Now say a large supermarket gets through 15000 bags a day, that's about £5400 per year. For ease of calculation, let's say Tescos has the equivalent of 200 large supermarkets, that's £1,080,000 per year.

      Now, Tescos don't give away bags, they sell "bags for life" for 9p each. Even being generous, let's say Tesco pay £1 per 100 for these "more substantial" bags, and instead of getting through 15,000 per day, we'll be generous and say they only get through 1000 per day. That's 72 million of the new bags per year on which they are now making a profit of 8p each, or £5.76M total.

      So, by "going green", using these rough figures, Tescos has gone from giving away over £1M to making a nearly £6M profit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You think the supermarkets are in to look green?

        No, you've missed a bit. Those free carrier bags get used by most people as bin liners. Now that the free bags are less available, people have to buy bin liners too. So there's even more profit for the supermarkets, and it's not reduced the number of plastic bags going to landfill at all!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      a tenner a month is probably peanuts to the self selecting reg audience, there are areas where it would lead to big problems.

      any sort of reward/fine based on what goes into a, necessarily, unsecured bin outside your house will have people coming from all over to fill bins or pinch recycling, probably strewing rubbish all over your garden & street in either case. After all even a tenner a month is 8-10 litres of diamond white!

      1. Thecowking

        The tenner you wouldn't have had otherwise?

        Even if people steal your recycling, you're not worse off

        That's the thing that's getting me here, people are whining about the possibility of someone stealing their possible chance to get something they wouldn't otherwise have or need.

        It's basically whining about the possibility of a possibility of an idea's possible downsides. I fully expect people to complain about the possibility of people stealing their farts while they sleep when someone works out how to convert them into electricity which could be sold to the grid (fuel cell undies).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classic government media campaign.

    If they gave a toss about recycling they'd litigate at the supermarket level, or rather, against the suppliers to the supermarkets. The level of packaging is still ridiculous.

  25. The BigYin

    Much easier answer

    Recycling from households is pretty wasteful. If is a good social practice as it gets people to think about their waste, but all the trucks chuntering about picking up the recyclable waste pretty much defeats the purpose. Best thing is - remove it at source; tax the producers.

    Lest waster generated is less waste to be dealt with. So tax those companies who using wrapping, upon wrapping upon wrapping for no reason other than to "make it feel luxury and boost the consumer mind share of our corporate value chain" or whatever.

    And tax the living hell out of the companies who use mixed materials that are hard to recycle and, pretty much, out law non-recyclable packaging materials.

    As consumers we can do our bit - consume less! It really is that simple. The less crap you buy, the less crap you have to dump. The one big waste that needs stamped out at home is food waste - we throw so much out that it is disgusting.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all ticks in squares isn't it?

    Very little of all this has to do with real recycling - it's knee-jerk quota-driven politics without much grasp on reality. Self-righteous ivory-tower councils - who can never quite grasp why the paying cusomers can't just all do as they're damn well told - simply pile regulation upon regulation. If that doesn't work - well then - clearly more regulation is needed. It's never-ending.

    It's all the product of damaged minds - of people who really need to grow up and get a grasp on reality. Including what it's like trying to manage out here in the real world. In fact, much of the 'recycling' boom seems to be down to councils with refuse departments clearly reluctant to soil their hands with anything that's actually refuse.

    In my area, the worst part of the 'recycling' drive (leaving aside deep suspicions that most of it still goes into landfill anyway) is the elevation of bin men (sorry - refuse disposal officers - barf!) to ad-hoc law enforcement officers. They strut around, making up their own rules as they go along, and waste taxpayer's time and money checking my rubbish more closely than Customs checks my luggage at an airport.

    I'm retired and disabled after a lifetime of working and taxpaying. I need my local council to periodically collect my refuse. That's it - bottom line - it's what I THOUGHT I was paying for.

    Instead I'm saddled with 3 huge bins (so far!) I can barely manage. Pavement or no collection - they won't even take them from just an inch inside an open gate. And a recycling manual bigger than the one that came with my PC. They empty early in the morning, but it's an offence to leave them out overnight or for too long after emptying (as well as dangerous for a blind neighbour). So I have to get up early, retired or not. Now they're talking about computer chips???

    God knows I'm paying through the nose - why the hell can't they just GET ON WITH IT!


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