Saturday, October 01, 2005

Big Bin Brother...

Last week, Leeds City Council fitted our recycle bin with an RFID tag, a little passive device that spits out a unique number when interrogated electronically. A team descended on the close, following a well ordered drill. The first bloke drilled a hole in the bin with a battery operated power drill, the second popped the device in the hole and the third recorded the house number on a hand-held device with a large aerial. I happened to be out at the time, collecting the black bin when this all happened. Us having two bins caused a momentary problem for them as a) there isn't a house number on it, and b) it appears to be unusual to have two green bins (although the council are happy to let people have as many as they want if there is a need.

We had been forewarned that this was happening by a letter a couple of weeks ago- also giving the reason.

"This is being done in order for us to ascertain the weight of materials being collected and will help with future management decisions."

I thought the phrase sounded slightly sinister, as it might herald taxation by quantity. Will we get chastised for producing too much, or not enough? Will we get snotty letters saying green bin number 2 has little in because we don't evenly distribute the stuff between both of them? When will they trill and fit the black bins?

Of course, these schemes always have unintended consequences. My parents used to put household waste in the street bin as they ran a shop and would be charged extra if the business bin was insufficient (which it was). I can see us distributing garden waste around town down our trouser legs as per the great escape...

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