AT the last count, about 14,000 wheelie bins bought in for the new green waste paid-for collection scheme remain unclaimed.

That translates as £200,000 or more of your cash and mine.

A total of 16,600 were ordered by the local authority on the basis of a survey suggesting 15 per cent of people would take part in the scheme.

The funny thing about surveys, though, is that when people fill them in they don’t always tell the absolute truth, even if they fervently believe they’re telling the truth at the time. They might say, for example, that they’re willing to cough up for a service, only to realise later on that there are cheaper, easier alternatives.

Something else about surveys is that the people who believe taking part is worth the effort do not always represent the views of the rest. The only true survey, in fact, is one in which every person in a randomly-chosen group is obliged to take part.

These phenomena are very well documented and have been for years, so I hope whoever was in charge of ordering those bins took it into account when coming up with a number. If they didn’t, I hope they made the purchase on a sale-or-return basis.

Otherwise, they’ll either have to offload them on eBay or come up with an alternative use to justify the added expense caused by what was intended as a money-saving measure.

Perhaps the bins could be filled with ice and used to chill all that Evian served to visitors.