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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Guestin

    There will be fines in. the future to pay for convention center… Yeah these people don’t lie ..jk

  • Guest1946

    Don’t forget Saffo Ball Park. But, the bottom line is, who cares about who is recycling anyhow?

  • Erlkoenig

    For crying out loud Wilmington resi-dense-s. How Socialist to you want to be? Chips in your trash? No wonder you keep voting in leftists and want taxpayer boondoggles engulfing downtown. I have an idea. Shove chips up your bohunckus so that Taxo saffo can verify you are in complete compliance with all city codes at all times. Seriously. Why Not?

  • M291

    What are the costs of the bins with and without RFID? What is the cost of having driver’s use the hand clickers, and what is the value of the information that is gained by the RFID BEYOND what we know now by current methods of data collection?

    The rational seems to be that some people are paying for service although the city takes the bin away. Doesn’t the person have an incentive to report such things themselves, thus negating the need for the RFID? (Who wants to pay a bill for a service not being rendered?)

    Also, stated as justification is the ability to track which neighborhoods are recycling. This rational seems to fail, because low tech, presumably less expensive, alternatives exist. What’s wrong with the hand clickers? (This is never explained. Is it expensive, inaccurate?)

    In the context of a city which hasn’t given employees a raise in nearly 5 years and has deficits in maintenance operations, this seems like an expense which can be cut or, an attempt to gradually introduce the technology to impose fines (although denied) without causing too much controversy.

  • Brian

    How do we get rid of these wasteful spenders that aren’t elected officials? The hand clicker method was working, why change now? I say that Wilmington needs to allow residents to opt out of city trash / recycling and contract with a private company of their choice. Competition is good for consumers, yet we’re stuck having to use a government monopoly.

  • Guester

    Do you know how much more expensive the private haulers are? I live in the city but on a private street. When my neighborhood looked into getting city trash (and still keeping our street private) it was a huge savings. Curbside recycling didn’t cost us any extra, and there was yard waste and the city takes away our furniture, appliances and Christmas trees for no extra cost. Plus the rate was lower than what we were getting with “that other place.” Now we will be getting larger ENCLOSED bins so stuff doesn’t blow all over the place, the city will save money and less will go to the landfill. And I don’t know how a hand clicker can be accurate. I’m willing to bet that everytime someone does a count you will get a different number. Plus I don’t want to pay for a stolen recycling bin. I am all for this.

  • OtherGuest

    “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.”

    That quoted statement by Ms. Talbert is, plain and simple, nonsensical drivel. If she is paid to be a city spokesperson, she should learn how to speak intelligently.

    And it gives reason to think that there is indeed some unspoken motive to purchasing bins with RFI chips.

  • Guester

    You want to pay for stolen recycling bins? I got news for ya – I’m betting that even the ones without chips are not free! I think you might be just a little paranoid. Are you that blogger guy who is convinced that the city is out to get everyone? How can you make it through the day living in terror that all the city people do all day is sit around trying to come up with ways to make life miserable for everyone else (as if they don’t live here & pay taxes here, too). Guess you must not have much to do all day, either.

  • Guest3130

    We had the co-mingling type of large recycling bins when we lived in CA., along with a garbage bin, too. You will love the new recycling bins, there’s no need to separate glass from aluminum from cardboard, etc., it all goes into the bin together. IT MAKES RECYCLING EASIER, folks, so that people will more fully participate – if you don’t make it easy, people won’t recycle. This is truly a win-win for all. And, yes, if you were caught putting your recycling into the garbage bin, there was a slight chance that you could get a $25 fine for not complying, but I never knew anyone who received such a fine because it was SO easy to recycle!


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