Though he foresaw many ways in which Big Brother might watch us, even George Orwell never imagined that the authorities would keep a keen eye on your trash can.

Residents of Croydon, south London, have been told that the microchips being inserted into their new wheely bins may well be adapted so that the council can judge whether they are producing too much rubbish.



If the technology suggests that they are, errant residents may be visited by officials bearing advice on how they might “manage their rubbish more effectively”.



In the shorter term the microchips will be used to tell council officers how many of the borough’s 100,000 bins the refuse collectors have emptied and how many have been missed.



While the move will be welcomed by environmentalists, it has sparked a row between the Labour-led council and Andrew Pelling, the Conservative who represents the area on the London assembly. He has tagged the microchips the “spy in your bin”.



Mr Pelling said: “The Stasi or the KGB could never have dreamed of getting a spying device in every household.”



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