Old tracking device found in garbage bin

Tracking: The black circular object is an old radio frequency identification device found by a Katoomba reader under the rim of his garbage bin.

Tracking: The black circular object is an old radio frequency identification device found by a Katoomba reader under the rim of his garbage bin.

An eagle-eyed Katoomba reader has found a tracking device on his garbage bin.

Alerted by a story about Inner West Council delivering new bins with radio frequency identification devices on them, the man – who asked to remain anonymous – decided to check his own and found just such a device under the rim.

He contacted the Gazette, happy if council was trying to get people to recycle properly but concerned that “this kind of data-collection seems a bit creepy, given that (a) I can find no disclosure about it on the BMCC website, and (b) I don't recall reading about it in the flyer that came with bin changeover late last year”.

Council has reassured the Gazette the device is a relic of a program abandoned years ago.

A spokeswoman said they were installed in all new 140-litre recycling bins in 2008 to track stolen bins and potentially to help with recycling education programs.

“Council found the devices unreliable for the intended purpose and discontinued use beyond initial trials in 2008/09.

“The devices only became active when in close contact with a ‘reader’ and associated software, which was located on the recycling trucks being used at that time… The current garbage, recycling and green bin trucks do not have ‘readers’ and associated software on them, therefore council has no ability to ‘read’ the old devices.”

When the bins were reissued last year, many people had their yellow lid swapped with a red lid, so some devices are still under the rims of bins.

“However, they are redundant,” she said.