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Aussie stunned to find tracking device on wheelie bin

Some Aussie councils adopted the technology years ago, but one resident questioned their neighbours whether they knew this was happening.

After finding a barely noticeable GPS tracking device embedded into their kerbside rubbish bin, one Aussie has questioned whether other people "knew this data collection was happening".

The Port Adelaide resident, in the city's north-west, uploaded a series of photos to social media showing the small, round device that's been placed atop the bin's body, just beneath where the lid sits. The tiny device, the person wrote "collects data on you, seemingly without anyone’s knowledge or any real announcement."

While the South Australian is correct, that the device does gather waste collection data, many people pointed out that in fact there's nothing sinister about the trackers, and their deployment is actually quite "helpful" to the community.

Close up of the gps trackers. Left: inside the bin. Right: In a person's hand.
The trackers help local councils keep track of important information such as 'presentation rates and if bins were contaminated or overfull'. Source: Reddit

They use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to help local councils keep track of important information such as "presentation rates and if bins were contaminated or overfull."

The company responsible for managing the trackers in the area, East Waste, say they're also used "to track bin movements and identify where additional bins may located".

"A small RFID microchip is fitted under the lip of each bin, which allows the truck to register each individual lift and log it directly against each bin, and its physical location," the company states on its website, pointing to the fact the scheme had been in operation since as early as 2012, in at least one local government area.

When contacted by Yahoo News Australia, the Local Government Association of South Australia directed us to the company which manufactures the GPS trackers, East Waste. However it declined to provide comment for this story.

The company does however state online that it's expanding its operations into bin weighing "to record the weight of contents of each bin, as it is emptied."

It's not known if other councils in Adelaide use such technology for waste collection but bin weighing is used across the UK and throughout much of Europe.

The gps trackers on the underside of a bin inset with the inside of a bin truck where a computer provides information.
The company responsible for managing the trackers EastWaste, say they're also used 'to track bin movements and identify where additional bins may located'. Source: Reddit/EastWaste

Here in Australia, a number of local government areas also use GPS bin tracking, including in NSW in Sydney's eastern suburbs, throughout areas governed by Randwick City Council. There, the trackers date all the way back to 2008.

Online, people joked about privacy concerns. "Oh no! Now they know my bin goes from the kerb outside my house into my yard," one person said in jest. "Bin conspiracy — sounds like rubbish to me," another joked.

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