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Bar codes put Cardiff residents under close scrutiny

Residents in Cardiff are to come under close scrutiny through a new scheme where bar codes are placed on black and green bins.

Initially being trialled in a number of areas such as Creigiau, the move will allow residents to trace their bins as well as providing council staff with the opportunity to fine those people that don’t recycle enough of their waste.

The move is said to be a health and safety management tool, allowing the council to address issues more easily. The codes will be read by computers carried by refuse collectors who will measure whether people are collecting too much rubbish.

While councillors suggested that the codes would merely educate the public on how to use the new two-bin system, the suggestion is that there could be other implications.

A Cardiff City Council spokesman said: “If they are putting out too many black bags, we can fine them. Persistent offending can result in a fixed penalty notice.”

The fines could be raised if the Clean Neighbourhoods Act, which is not yet law in Wales, is adopted by the Welsh Assembly.

All councils have been instructed by the Welsh Assembly Government to recycle 40% of waste by 2010, with Cardiff City Council continuing its drive by putting some 20,000 bins in use across the city, with more expected later this year.

Friends of the Earth has given the move a cautious welcome, saying that the threat of fines could be useful, but people should be given the chance to understand a new system first.

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