According to a Metro report, council officials in the town of Bury, located in north-west of England, have decided to spend nearly £9,000 ($14,700) on the popular devices.
The plan is to mount the iPads on the dashboards of Bury council’s 22 garbage trucks so that employees can easily log details of addresses that fail to recycle properly or leave their garbage cans out. The council hopes the iPads will help with collection rate efficiency, improve customer service and increase recycling.
But purchasing the tablets comes at a time when councils across the UK are facing substantial budget cuts as the country grapples with a massive deficit. Bury council, for example, is trying to find ways to save £18 million ($30 million) over the next three years. Critics of the iPad plan who think it’s a waste of money say that logging information during a collection round could be done just as easily with a pen and paper.
Head of waste management at Bury council, Glenn Stuart, defended the move. “The scheme is replacing paperwork which can get lost in cabs or get wet. Waste collection is a dirty operation,” he said, adding, “Nothing will be lost. It is captured and retained for future benefit.”
Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, made his views clear about Bury Council’s plans. “It beggars belief that a council making huge savings can find this money to splash out on iPads. Residents want bin services that are reliable and efficient, not council staff monitoring what they’re throwing out.”
Even without the iPads, however, Bury council officials have found a way to make collections more efficient – from October it’ll be cutting garbage collections to once every two weeks, saving it £3.1 million ($5 million) in the process.