Socio-economic profiling is not being done during waste assessments on residents’ bins in Poole, the council has confirmed.

Last September the Daily Echo reported that assessors were analysing the contents of a selection of householders’ bins in secret in order to gather information about recycling rates.

Last week a national newspaper picked up the story – telling how 90 councils were going through residents’ rubbish to gather information about their wealth and background – including recording the types of food waste and supermarket labels.

And the story suggested Poole was among a number of councils that used some form of social profiling to target homes for bin searches. But the council has strongly denied these suggestions.

Shaun Robson, head of environmental and consumer protection services, Borough of Poole, said the two-week long assessment in September had only been targeted on areas where blue bins were not well used.

And the only information recorded was the proportion of waste types thrown – ranging from food waste, to paper to aluminium cans – and whether it was discarded in the recycling or the regular bins. The data was recorded by area rather than by street or even individual home.

Mr Robson said the information was used to target education campaigns to maximise recycling.

The process was carried out every two to three years, and was likely to be repeated in the future as the information gathered was “extremely valuable” in helping the council design its service.