Friday, 23 July 2010

‘They Haven’t Gone Away, You Know’ Redux

Councils are secretly rifling through thousands of dustbins to find out about families' race and wealth.
And what possible reason could they have for that?
Waste audits allow officials and private contractors to check supermarket labels, types of unwanted food - and even examine the contents of discarded mail.

The local authorities are using social profiling techniques to match different types of rubbish to different ethnic groups or wealthy and poor households, as part of a recycling drive initiated by the last Government.
Ah. Right. So they have done this in the past.

Are they still doing it? That’s the question. It’s certainly a question iDave’s mob should be asking.

Why were they doing it?
Householders can then be placed into social categories, which in some areas range from 'wealthy achievers' to the 'hard-pressed' - and subsequently targeted for future leafleting campaigns.
Ah. Well, chaps, the money’s run out. Sorry. We can’t afford leafleting campaigns.

Did they get any useful information out of this?
In Hackney, East London, researchers targeted homes based on their potential ethnic and social mix, collecting data separately on four different groups, including ‘multi-ethnic private flats’ and ‘prosperous young professionals’ flats’.

The study found that ‘as expected’ the ‘educated urbanites’ living in ‘trendy’ flats threw away the least rubbish.
Now, there’s an unexpected piece of information! The typical ‘Guardian’/’Indy’ reader is far more likely to believe the green propaganda (and crucially, not want to be seen as out of step by his fellows) and slavishly follow council instructions!

Do go on...
In Bracknell Forest, Berkshire, researchers sifted through discarded food. They concluded that more than half of it could have been recycled or composted if householders had behaved more responsibly.
Translation: ‘If householders had behaved more responsibly’ = ‘If householders had done as they were bloody well told, the ingrates’…

Any more startling revelations?
In Southampton, officials found that homeowners were more likely to put general waste in the recycling bin in the week after Christmas.
Hmmm, could that be because people traditionally have a lot more food (and therefore food waste) at Christmas/New Year, and that that’s also the period when the refuse services are disrupted?

Wow! that was money well spent, eh?

Not all councils went along with this, either:
Dartford Council, in Kent, has refused to carry out the secret surveys.

Jeremy Kite, who is the council’s Tory leader, said: ‘I strongly object to the analysis and examination of waste put out for collection unless specific permission is obtained from the householder and have intervened to prevent such exercises in Dartford on more than one occasion. I do not believe it is right.’
Good for you. I bet you get back in next year, as a result…

8 comments:

Stitch's Master said...

I have to say I find the composting comment interesting. I live in the countryside and we do compost, not out of a sense of greenery, but because we grow our own veg and producing your own compost is cheaper than buying it.

But WTF do you put a compost bin if you live in a bloodly flat in London?

allcoppedout said...

All councils expend vast sums finding out the bleedin' obvious. They never find out what we are dissatisfied with though, as this is always inconvenient.
We now have 4 bins but no one has asked us how often we could manage to have them collected. Once a month would do. It's every week, a great triumph of Zanu PF Nulabour round here.
I was asked, in several pages, when I want pharmacies open, a decision these private businesses seem to do quite well on their own, even delivering to my door at no charge.

That'll be me outside rummaging in your bins Julia - an MI5 privatised contract based on your 'anti-police' wanderings off hymn-sheet of late. Expect the knock after I find the chappati flour and sugar traces, though maybe 'knock' is a bit of a euphemism in bomb-squad circles! 'Pancake making' - tell it to the judge!

Simon Cooke said...

The after Christmas problem is even simpler - wrapping paper and such will have general waste attached to it (sellotape, string, ribbon etc)

Joe Public said...

"The study found .... ‘educated urbanites’ living in ‘trendy’ flats threw away the least rubbish."

So, they would of course be entitled to a reduction in their Council Tax.

Mark said...

'The typical ‘Guardian’/’Indy’ reader is far more likely to believe the green propaganda (and crucially, not want to be seen as out of step by his fellows) and slavishly follow council instructions!'

The wonderful 'Nuts in May' was shown again on BB4 this week. Keith (husband of Candice-Marie) was a perfect dramatic re-creation of this demographic !

Anonymous said...

Well if they want to rummage through my bin then they are welcome to it. Just a warning though , thats where I put the dogs mess so good luck.
ArtCo

Anonymous said...

If only the prodnoses would come rummaging through my bin.

I shred all the paper.

Then I put the shreddings into my cats litter box.

Then I wrap the soiled shreddings up in yesterday's Times, and put it into the bin.

So they would open up this innoccuous parcel, get covered in kitty-poo, and would have no unshredded paperwork to trace it back to me.

Monty

JuliaM said...

"But WTF do you put a compost bin if you live in a bloodly flat in London?"

Quite! You'd have to have one hell of a windowbox...

"They never find out what we are dissatisfied with though, as this is always inconvenient."

Well, if they ever did, they might find themselves obliged to do something about it.

And that would never do...

"The after Christmas problem is even simpler - wrapping paper and such will have general waste attached to it (sellotape, string, ribbon etc)"

Good point. My council does do a good job with collection of old Christmas trees though.

Still doesn't stop the residents of Chavtown from dumping them on the pavement though.