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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Recycling bins or spy gear? As we told you last week, the City of Wilmington plans to replace its small recycling bins with much larger ones. The new bins will come with a radio frequency identification chip.

If you don’t recycle, could the ID chips let the City of Wilmington know? And could that lead to a fine? That’s what a local political blogger alludes to in his Wilmington Watcher blog. He compares Wilmington to other cities that use the id chips to fine residents who don’t recycle.

That’s not what some folks in Wilmington want to hear, although some residents think it could work.

“I think if you were going to get fined, I think a lot more people would recycle on a daily basis, because who wants to get fined, you know?” Wilmington resident Matthew Miller said.

City spokeswoman Malissa Talbert says the city has “absolutely no intention” of going through people’s trash. So why the need for these high tech chips? For starters, to make sure someone hasn’t stolen a recycling cart.

“Sometimes there’s a problem with the person who isn’t paying the bill,” Talbert said. “We’ll take the cart away, and the person who is paying the bill is stuck with the bill but doesn’t have the cart.”

Wilmington resident Ed Vogeley said, “Sounds like a good idea to me. I don’t know how much theft there would be, but maybe that will cut it back a little bit.”

The city will also be able to determine which neighborhoods do a good job recycling. That will let them know they don’t have to focus on recycling efforts there. But what about fines?

“There’s no fine now, and we don’t plan to have any fines in the future,” Talbert said.

Talbert says workers on the trucks use a hand clicker to keep a count of how many people in Wilmington recycle. With this new technology, they won’t have to do that.

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