Business Environment Society & Culture Technology

Bin tagging and a small matter of the rubbish of big business…

As I’ve mentioned previously, technology is best used when enabling something or someone. So it appears that the government is intent on getting to grips with the issue of waste by strongly encouraging consumer recycling by employing RFID technology.

To this end, the multi-bin system is in full swing and we as consumers are now empowered not only to think about our impact on the environment and how we can lessen our ‘carbon footprint’, but also be a little more judicious in our purchases and help – quite literally – separate the wheat from the chaff, by sorting our rubbish prior to collection.

However, the government has a more elaborate plan.

For those that flout the multi-bin system and just stick any old crap in any old bin, they wish to impose fines.

So my next-door neighbours are in for a shock .. good that’s not the full extent of their plan:

“Microchips in bins which help councils charge for the weight of rubbish collected could be common across the UK within two years.Mr Bettison, chairman of the LGA’s environment board, said charging to collect non-recyclable rubbish would give people ” a real carrot to recycle”.

“Some people say ‘what’s in it for me?’ Well, let’s make it in their interest to recycle by helping them. In that way, we’re encouraging them to recycle more,” he said.”

Apparently, some government think tank came up with this idea, which on the face of it seems in lock-step with current government policy, but seems slightly out of balance for my liking.

For example: why is the burden of this agenda weighted towards the consumer? Why is there no pressure being applied to the companies that produce the materials which are causing all of the problems in the first place?

Why are they not being burdened by legislation to force them to make better use of the materials and production & manufacturing technologies that are out there right now?

Yes! The technologies and the materials exist, and they’ve existed for some time.

How can we as consumers be held entirely accountable for and seemingly answerable to the failures of businesses more interested in placating their shareholders than doing the right thing?

Questions, questions, questions .. always questions in search of answers…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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