Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Monday, 16 March 2009

Micro-chips to measure rubbish

Wheelie bins
The councils hope the service will lead to higher recycling rates

Two Oxfordshire district councils plan to introduce micro-chipped wheelie bins to monitor how much rubbish households throw away.

Some 112,000 bins will be micro-chipped in South Oxfordshire as part of a new £8m waste contract which will replace sack collections this summer.

South Oxfordshire will start its scheme in June while the Vale of White Horse will begin its in October.

The councils believe the new service will lead to higher recycling rates.

Surveillance society

Under the new service recycling will be collected fortnightly and any waste that cannot be recycled will be collected on the alternate week.

Sensors and weighing equipment have been fitted to the back of each rubbish lorry.

Those recycling too little will be sent warning leaflets, then could be visited by council officials who will advise on cutting waste.

There's no intention of going down the route of billing
David Dodds, South Oxfordshire District Council

The councils hope to increase recycling from 43% to 60%.

So far the councils have ruled out the prospect of a pay-as-you-throw bin tax. "There's no intention of going down the route of billing," said David Dodds, the council's member for environmental services.

"Any information we get about where recycling is going well or where it could be better will be on an area basis rather than an individual basis."

But some are worried about the intrusive technology. "I'm not in favour of a surveillance society," said John Nowell-Smith, a Liberal Democrat councillor.

"I'm also not sure how efficient the service will be as people have different requirements depending on how many people live at each address."

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