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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
'Chip and bin' to measure waste
Microchips are being placed in wheelie bins to measure recycling rates of thousands of people in Northumberland.

About 4,000 households in Alnwick will take part in the five-month project to monitor how much rubbish is recycled.

Special equipment fitted to refuse vehicles will read the chips in the bins and instantly record the amount of recycled waste.

Alnwick District Council says residents who could recycle more waste will be offered specialist advice.

The move is aimed at boosting recycling rates in the North East, which are below the national average.

Pilot scheme

Richard Thompson, head of environmental services at the council, said: "At each location we will be able to precisely measure the contents of each wheelie bin.

"If we do this on a community basis we can determine recycling rates of any given size community in the district.

"Although we will be measuring the performance of each individual household, the point of the pilot scheme is aimed at finding out what is recycled at a community and parish level."

The project is part-funded by the government.

Leaflets are being sent to households before work begins to fit bins with the chips later this month.

The council has promised no residents will be penalised during the project.

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