Micro-chipped bins are no secret

There are no plans to activate microchips which are fitted to all 53,000 of the region’s general waste wheelie bins.

That assurance was reissued this week by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) after a national newspaper claimed that households faced being “spied on” by councils in a bid to force them to recycle more rubbish.

SBC is one of four local authorities in Scotland to issue the receptacles which have the capability of measuring the weight of discarded waste.

SBC purchased the bins with the special devices in 2005 when the wheelie bin programme, including green containers for garden waste, was rolled out across the region, culminating in Berwickshire in March 2006.

At that time The Southern revealed the bins had cost 50p more than standard receptacles and quoted an SBC spokesperson: “We made this decision based on an awareness that national government policy could change and that the public could, in future, be charged according to the amount of waste they generate for collection.”

A council spokesperson said yesterday: “The bins were cheaper to purchase with pre-installed microchips than it was to fit them retrospectively. The micro-chipped bins have never been activated and are not monitored, and there are no plans at the moment to do so.”