- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - New recycling bins in St. Paul containing tracking chips are being used to monitor recycling.

The electronic chips allow recycling equipment to scan and identify the cart by passing a detector nearby, Minnesota Public Radio News (https://bit.ly/2jxyhZf) reported.

Kris Hageman, environmental coordinator for St. Paul Public Works, said the new technology will make it easier to ensure everyone in the city has a new bin.

“They’re basically scanning the serial number and connecting with the longitude-latitude point of the address,” Hageman said.

Video monitors have also been added to St. Paul’s new trucks to look over recycling bins as they’re being emptied.

While St. Paul mandates recycling it is not enforced. Other cities have started using the chips to monitor compliance with recycling requirements.

The American Civil Liberties Union has raised questions about the practice of putting tracking devices in recycling containers.

“We’ve heard some stories from other locations across the United States where you’re actually able to inspect the contents of bins to figure out what type of garbage or recycling people have and whether they are or are not following certain recycling rules,” said Ben Feist, the ACLU’s Minnesota legislative director.

City officials said their contract with Eureka Recycling, which runs the program, doesn’t include such inspection and that there aren’t plans to add an enforcement mechanism to the system.

St. Paul’s environmental policy director Anne Hunt said that would take a city ordinance and plenty of notice to residents to enact.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org

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