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. 'Bin brother' tagging Australian rubbish

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) April 14, 2008
Tens of thousands of Australian households will have their garbage and recycling monitored by tracking devices placed in their trash bins, a move dubbed "Bin Brother" by local media.

Officials on Monday confirmed that 78,000 new council-issued garbage bins in the eastern suburbs of Sydney have been fitted with small radio frequency tags, which allow for data collection.

Each bin will transmit a unique identification code to the garbage truck which weighs and empties it each week, allowing officials to identify how much rubbish is produced at each address.

The technology, which is similar to that used to track cattle, will tell the council whether residents are using the bins correctly or mixing recyclable material in with trash destined to become landfill.

Randwick mayor Bruce Notley-Smith said the bins were not aimed at introducing a levy for the collection of heavy rubbish but at stepping up recycling.

"We've aimed to increase or target problem areas in the city where there's a lower level of recycling," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The bins are already in use in Ryde suburb in Sydney's northwest.

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China mine spill blackens river with toxic slurry
Beijing (AFP) April 14, 2008
A large spill of toxic slurry from a mine has turned part of a northern Chinese river black and fouled it with dangerous chemicals, state media said Monday.

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