more intelligent rubbish containers
surely cry out for more intelligent 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 …
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.
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.
"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).
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 :)
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.
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?).
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...
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.
"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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
@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.
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.
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.
We've had such bins around here in Ljubljana, Slovenia for a few years now.
Can see them on the pic here:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
"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.
"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).
Hm, what I miss in this one (as being Dutch myself); wasn't there any consideration of alternatives like just adding taxes to the bought stuff? Buy something that can be thrown away +1%. Would probably have been the cheaper, easier to implement alternative. For some reason people tend to solve everything with more technology all the time.
This post has been deleted by its author
1) Increase the incidence of littering as people seek to avoid the charge
2) Really piss-off tourists who can't put their litter anywhere (see 1)
3) Drive demand for the hacking of RFID chips so someone else can get your bill
4) Increase revenue (you can be sure that local taxes didn't get reduced)
5) Increase surveillance of the proletariat (polluted by 3)
Or am I just too cynical?
1) It tends to when the things are newly placed. However, the peeps that do so are usually "the Usual Suspects" , and a bit of a walk through the rubbish will tell the specially authorised plods exactly who to charge and fine.
2) The things are only placed in large towns and cities in the urban areas. In city centers and touristy bits the things are most often left unlocked, and (at least in my fair city) there's plenty of the oldfashioned steel open bins/graffity targets where our very welcome spenders-of-cash can put their litter in.
3) Anything can be hacked. Most people can't/won't bother. Besides, quite often the card is simply for access, taxes are still levied in the usual way, except for this pilot, so gaming the system is really not worth it.
4) Overvalue-ing (sp?) property and resulting tax, and charging mint prices for stamps and permits/documents are the usual forms of municipal graft here. Most counties have outsourced their rubbish collection to one or two large companies, so there's not much wriggle room there.
5) In theory, maybe. Practically? We've got privacy laws that are actually functional, enforced, and monitored like a hawk by some very vocal interest groups.
Besides, the way things work over here, coupled with prices of real estate, you'll find that most of the areas you'd find the things in are actually middle class. Not exactly proletariat material.
Not too cynical, simply a matter of "not enough data".
Also creates a whole new worker class - of the people who are hired to check and enforce the rules.
Around me, we pay through the nose for weekly trash pickups. And in case we're not paying enough there is a supervisor that rolls around in his pickup truck and leaves notes on the items that aren't supposed to be thrown out. So in effect I'm paying more to NOT have my garbage taken away!
But put everything in black trash bags and it looks like construction rubble and they'll happily haul it away all day long.
This is typical of a not-joined-up thought process. Make people pay for disposal and they will fly tip somewhere.
Pay people for recycling (e.g. deposit on bottles, etc) and they will put in an effort. If they won't because "its only £1" then some down-and-out will. Either way you get a cleaner country.
No it isn't self-financing, or not in my borough anyway! Over £68 million per year (out of a total budget of a little over £1.5bn) spent on waste management which is the 4th highest expenditure area - more than e.g. transport or highways costs. This is broken down into £45m for waste disposal and over £23m for recycling & "diversion from landfill"
If this were to be introduced into the UK or US how long would it be before we had the first report of 'bin-jacking'. :-)
"I just popped down to the bin to put in the left-overs from last night's meal - the wife was trying a new recipe you see - presented my ID card (for which I was charged £100 by the local council) and this guy jumped out shouting "Move away from the bin...s..l..o..w..l..y". I was petrified and did what he asked (he was carrying what looked like a knife and I wasn't going to argue. He then proceeded to put the 'knife' in the bin, which on closer inspection turned out to be a flattened ice-cream cone wrapper that we wanted to throw away. But now I will have to pay for his rubbish - so I'm a double victim."
On a serious note this is such a bad idea for non-communal bin. The savings listed seem mainly to do with bin theft (really, people actually steal bins?) and lorries travelling less. The latter is just an 'i'm nearly full' indicator, which is a good idea and totally separate from the RFID requirement. As for bin theft - that may apply to the larger communial bins but not to individual ones. Any savings made would be spent by the council on the new 'litter police' they needed to stem the sudden surge in littering (in the UK it would anyway),
We have spent years in the UK trying to educate people to actually USE bins (all the Keep Britain Tidy stuff), putting obstacles in the way would be madness. Let's hope we never see this here.
" [The bins] use their embedded phone to call up a truck over Vodafone's GPRS network when they're full, reducing the distance trucks have to drive."
I find it hard to believe in this reduction. Say I fill my bin on Monday, so they send out a truck to empty it. My next-door neighbour fills his on Tuesday, so they send out a truck to empty it. Next-door-but one fills his on Wednesday...
Assuming random bin-filling, they have to send a truck down every street every day, instead of once a week.
Ok, maybe we don't each fill a bin per week, but in a street of any reasonable size, there'll be at least one trip needed per day.
I can only assume they don't in fact empty bins on demand as soon as they are full, perhaps they come once a week and empty only those bins known to be already full, but the saving there would be marginal.
Because you don't understand the system. You don't get one bin per household, you get a communal bin, which probably serves 100-200 households. You put your rubbish in there, how much you put in is calculated, which you are billed for. When any of the bins are close to full, that location is added to the day route of one truck for the next day.
Communal garbage collection is quite common on the continent, because that is the best way to do it.
I used to spend about half my time in Groningen and didn't realise these bins were new... Anyhoo, thye worked quite well except for the recycling bit. I never found where the recycling bin actually was... Ended up with enough paper in a pile I could have made myself a decent fort.
There's already a deposit on bottles here - well, beer bottles and anything over a litre it seems.
We were in the centre of the city (well, near enough) and there was a bit of a problem with fly tipping. Not as much as I'd expect in the UK (I'm British - I left civilisation a while ago to teach the natives the joy of baked beans and proper bacon.) but it's stil there. There are stickers saying that putting bin next to the bin will end up with you being hunted down by The Bin Squad or something. It was about 5 steps out the front door to the underground bin maw though - about the same distance I has to walk to my wheelie bin.
Charges aren't quite organised like in the UK too. There's no one unified council tax that you whinge about, pay and things happen. Everything seems to be in its own little bill here. Keeping the envelope manufacturers in business and confusing anyone who wasn't born with the knowledge. I've found that, while I've rented places, the rent covers the bill for this so I don't actually know how much it was...
My first post. Lots of words, little useful information. I think I've got the idea right?
Depending on the cities, there is usually no paper bin, instead a recycling company does a weekly round to pick-up paper. You just leave it boxed or bagged by the side of the road (some cities do provide a paper wheelie bin if you have a lot of paper or don't like boxing or bagging).
With regard to the council tax: you usually do get one bill (eg single or multiple household waste processing, council tax based on the value of your house etc).
If you can read Dutch, you can read here: http://gemeente.groningen.nl/afvalstoffenheffing/afvalbeheerplan/Afvalbeheerplan%202011-2015.pdf that in Groningen at least there currently are no initiatives to charge extra for more rubbish. The current differentiation is just based on the number of occupants in a house.
(By the way the original press release (in Dutch) is here: http://www.versvrdepers.nl/2012/09/persbericht-afvalcontainers-met.html and as one can see the "charging for rubbish" part was mainly tagged on by Mr Ray as it is only cursory mentioned in the release and then as applying to France where for some forms of waste additional payment is necessary from 2015)
Sorry folks, 'not in the UK' should read 'already tried in the UK'. There was a major trial by some councils (including mine) with tagged wheely bins which were weighed as they were emptied. They logged bin weights centrally and you'd get notified if you didn't do enough recycling (by weight not proportion). Unfortunately the great unwashed could see where this was going (a pay as you throw tax), there was significant feeling expressed and people showed the futility by putting stuff in neighbours bins etc. so the 'trial' was oficially abandoned. The bins still exist but we are promised that data is no longer collected...
Andy The Hat
You're describing the system they used in the Netherlands before these new 'intelligent' bins. The new bins are designed to resolve the issues of neighbours abusing the system.
(again ... might have been better to read the article before commenting ... am I being old-fashioned here? Is it the done thing to just take a brief glance at the first paragraph and then dive in with a bunch of assumptions and a loosely related personal anecdote?)
Here in the Colonies, in the small town I live in, we use the time-honoured solution of packing our trash and recyclables into the car, driving to the town dump and dropping it off.
All the rubbish goes off in a tip to the trash to energy plant (where the town pays a tip fee per ton), while the recyclables are carted over to the county jail to be sorted (our town hosts the jail, so it gets done for free). The carrot and stick the town uses is that the more we recycle, the less we pay on our property taxes for the rubbish. This works for frugal Yankees. It also seems to work for the town as we don't have too much trouble with fly tipping.
(Our dogs also look forward to their weekly ride to the dump!)
In the US nearly all urban areas have weekly free trash collection, but a few charge by the bag or by the month (usually limited to two cans/household/week). But some don't do anything. One that doesn't collect rash is Wellesley Massachusetts which is one of the wealthiest communities in the states. In that town the residents have to take their own trash to the dump, and each Saturday morning at the dump is a prominent social event with much gossiping and sometimes speechifying by candidates.
Only the most law abiding communities can sustain charging by weight or volume - otherwise it would result in litter.
If you don't have a car, there are one or two people in town who will pick up rubbish for a fee. It's nothing incredibly organized; they have a pickup truck that they collect the trash with and drop it off at the dump. Other than that, people will run a bag over to the dump for an elderly neighbor that doesn't drive.
...if it lead to a reduction in our council tax.
We normally fill our wheely bin and put it out once a month (for a family of four) but we still pay the same CT as our neighbors who have a smaller family and needed to order a second wheelie bin to cope with bi-weekly collections...
In the neighbourhoods where these bins are located, there are no wheelie bins.
The "bin" in the photo is just the opening to a _large_ underground bin - that footplate around the bin is actually the top cover. These typically fill every couple of weeks and service 20-30 housholds in a street.
The biggest problems I'm aware of are people setting them on fire (accidentally or deliberately, but the enclosed nature of them makes fires annoying more than anything else) and stolen items being dumped down them by street thieves if they're about to be caught (they tend not to carry any ID, as this makes them harder for police to process 'em)
I suspect that most of the reason for requiring an ID card is simply to try and cut down on the latter problem. Dutch are very good at both recycling and reusing anything left on the street if it looks abandoned.
Yes it is easier to sort your recycle rather than do a back yard burn, or fly tip.
However I can tell you having worked on bins some people will for no other reason than "fuck you".
People get completly irrational about their bins. I have had more hassle and abuse to do with bins than I have had when sorting oput benefits, council tax, and council tax collections put together.
When we got "pay as you throw" as they call it around here, where you need to use special $1-each bags, that drove a dramatic increase in littering, as well as a much more liberal definition of "recyclable". Even in the well-regarded upper middle class suburb my parents live in, there are a few areas out of sight of houses where bags of garbage appear now (in addition to the traditional CRT screens and A/C's, which have cost money to throw out for years).
In cities that do that, it's common to see public trashcans almost buried in bags of household trash, and people routinely pitch stuff into the dumpsters of businesses.
What I don't understand is why people were pinching the old bins. Around here, public trashcans are sufficiently filthy and scary that nobody would want to take one...
An intelligent RFID tag which only responds when presented with that week's code.
This also helps to detect "lost" bags so they can be rounded up and disposed of.
Make the chips reuseable in the form of a one time magnetic tag that can only be removed at the rubbish depot by an authorised person.
Yes, this bin may save some money for less collections; however most stuff cannot be economically recycled, thus actively wastes money and energy, rather ironic for the 'Greens'!
A better solution would be to have a rubbish container per street, with a built in wireless weight sensor, and allow private recyclers to harvest any stuff which is economic to recycle; the cost would then be even less for local government.
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