Refuse collection and iPads

I had never heard of an apparent proposal from Bury Council to buy an iPad for every refuse collection lorry until I was contacted by a local journalist in the middle of the Bank Holiday weekend. I have nothing against the use of new technology but it does seem rather incongruous that the efficienct collection of refuse should depend on the use of an iPad.

The first question that has to be asked is ‘What is the problem that needs to be solved?’

If the problem is the learning of new routes the most economical, simplest and most sensible idea would be to give drivers a map with the new route marked on.

If the problem is how to record which households have not put out their recycling surely a simple clipboard, a few sheets of paper and a pen/pencil would do the same job just as quickly and easily.

There would be no danger of the battery running out. Much less training required. Much less risk of expensive equipment being stolen. Much less chance of delicate equipment being damaged. Much less cost.

Of course this debates overlooks the more fundamental question of what value the information would be to the Council. There are any number of genuine reasons what a household may not be putting a particular recycling bin out for collection. For example: the householder may be away on holiday/ they may not actually be producing any waste because of their purchasing habits/ they may work away most of the week/ they may take their recycling to recycling centres themselves/ they may make use of their waste themselves – personal recycling…….. there would no doubt be many more perfectly genuine reasons.

Furthermore I am no technology expert but I know enough to know that there are many other tablet style computers that could do the job more cheaply.