Ask A Broadsheet Reader


Danny asks:

Leaflet left on my green bin last week from Panda Recycling. Surely “capturing and registering each picture to customer account” of green bin must violates some sort of privacy regulation. Boxes, packaging: brands, items you bough, labels, documents…?


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34 thoughts on “Ask A Broadsheet Reader

  1. Panty Christ

    Stock image. Nothing to be worried about.
    Panda don’t have the tech or capability to photograph bins being turned out inside their trucks. And furthermore there’s no actual law prohibiting you from mixing waste like this.

    1. edalicious

      “Panda don’t have the tech or capability to photograph bins being turned out inside their trucks.”

      Uh, why not? Seems like that would be very straightforward.

      1. Rob_G

        I’m 90% sure that I have seen CCTV on a bin lorry somewhere. I always thought that it was worker safety, but maybe it was for this reason either.

    2. Rob_G

      But why would you mix your waste like this? Even if you don’t care a damn about the bin companies, a small amount of contaminate material can consign a huge amount of recyclable waste straight to landfill.

      1. pedeyw

        I would say it’s because recycling is usually less expensive than general waste and people are short sighted and cheap.

      2. Danny

        It’s just an example photo, I do sort my rubbish. I’m just concerned because this is like a snapshot of my web browser history…

    3. Rep

      “there’s no actual law prohibiting you from mixing waste”

      Other than probably the Pandy T&C and the general rule of not being a massive twat. The smugness of that comment is impressive.

    4. scottser

      we got a letter and picture from greyhound showing a full, tied up bin bag. you’re supposed to empty the contents loose into your bin, apparently. so they can and do photgraph the contents of your bin.
      i mainly use the recycling centres now – panda, greyhound et al are nothing short of a scam.

      1. delacaravanio

        That’s not why. The reason is soft plastic can’t be recycled. You’re not able to put any plastic bags into the recycling bin.

  2. ftflood

    Firstly, If you are concerned about privacy, buy a shredder and don’t put any documents in your bin. Secondly, If you put your rubbish in a bin on your kerb, then anybody can look in it. There are much more important privacy issues than this.

  3. dhaughton99

    A lad I know, who works in one of the larger companies, told me that only a couple of the trucks have the cameras and send them to area which have a problem with contaminants.

  4. Jonboy

    If you’re genuinely worried just put in a request for all of the data they hold on you. Then you can make an actual judgement call on whether it is excessive or not.

  5. Rob_G

    A drug dealer in the U.S. was caught when the police took his bins, went through them, and finding baggies and other cocaine paraphernalia gave them probable cause to search his house. He brought them to the supreme court, arguing that searching his rubbish was an invasion of his privacy; court ruled against him.
    California v. Greenwood

  6. Jaypers

    The laziness of some people when it comes to sorting their bins is astonishing sometimes. This silly billy even has the gall to complain when he is called out on it.

    Danny, if you sorted your jolly lumpkins in the first place you wouldn’t have to worry about privacy. Someone has to sift through your rubbish to separate the recyclables when you dispose stuff like this. So, you’ll bring less attention to your precious documents if you don’t contaminate them glass, food waste etc.

  7. millie st murderlark

    A lot of it was ignorance, at least on my part. I didn’t know what was and wasn’t ok to go into my bin until we received a full list from Panda. Now we follow it as best we can. That rte doc on dumping in Ireland last year was a real eye opener. I was horrified after seeing it. It certainly made us more conscious of how we treat our waste.

  8. Riz

    The laziness of some respondents on this website when it comes to reading the original question is astonishing sometimes! Danny didn’t mention anything about mixing food waste and glass with his recyclables in his original question. He was enquiring about whether there was a privacy infringement with the approach of photographing people’s bins. I think Danny’s query is valid – this is a total invasion of privacy. The Gardaí must have a search warrant to search your bins (unless they are suspected as abandoned but known to be yours). If the cops need a search warrant then Panda definitely don’t have the right to photograph your bins without your permission. Whether your rubbish is mixed or not is immaterial – you brought that issue into it.

    1. Jaypers

      I know I brought that issue into it, Riz/Danny. You may think it’s off topic, but I think it’s a valid observation.

    2. Cian

      “The Gardaí must have a search warrant to search your bins” really? If they are still on your property I might agree, but once they are put outside for collection I suspect they no longer need a warrant.

      But that is moot. The Gardaí would need a search warrant to get your Tesco clubcard number, and to access your purchases. But Tesco can do so freely. Why? Because when you signed up you gave consent. Same would be true of Panda.

      I looked at their T&Cs and I have to say they are quite vague. Nothing explicit about photographing your waste.
      10. Data Protection
      10.1 The Customer authorises Panda to collect, retain and use any personal data about the Customer for the following purposes;
      • to provide the Service[ …]

  9. ____

    The company are allowed to collect relevant information.
    They’re obliged to keep it secure, not keep it longer than needed and not sell it on without consent, but there’s nothing illegal in what’s being suggested.

      1. Ronan

        Not so Cian. Consent is only one of the 6 lawful grounds for data processing. Legitimate interests is another, and exactly what Panda are using here – it’s in the legitimate interests of their business to ensure that material isn’t contaminated, and to be able to trace where any contamination came from. Consent has nothing to do with it. Common misunderstanding.

  10. Pip

    EcoEye on the telly last night showed an acknowledged expert putting food waste into a brown bin.
    Even if it was a biodegradable plastic bag, what a terrible example for Joe Public.

  11. Brother Barnabas

    i saw a fella once throw a banana skin into a green bin. not a bother on him, no betrayal of guilt… lifted the lid, dropped it in and off he went

    if I get enough +1s, I’ll tell what happened next

    1. Shane Duffy

      Deffo +1. I wanna see this in the Fringe. Already head and shoulders above the usually garbage it presents.

Comments are closed.

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