New guidance on encouraging recycling has advised local authorities to consider using smaller wheelie-bins, it emerged today.
The guidance came in a report last month from government-backed quango, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
It said that the introduction of 240-litre wheelie-bins in most areas over recent years has led to an increase in the amount of rubbish thrown away by households and taken to landfill sites.
It suggests that councils may wish to follow the lead of some local authorities which have switched to 140 or 180-litre bins in order to encourage households to cut back on waste and recycle more.
But it makes clear that this is not an instruction, and that decisions on rubbish collection strategies are a matter for local councils.
It said: ‘It is generally accepted that the introduction of 240-litre bins on weekly collection services has led to increased quantities of waste being collected, which has led some councils introducing wheeled bins for the first time to opt for 140 or 180-litre containers.’
The report notes that any authority introducing smaller bins will have to decide whether to issue the same size bin to every household or to provide larger containers to families, who can be expected to produce more rubbish.
It warns that giving different sized bins to different properties risks inciting ‘bin envy’ between neighbours.
Shadow local government secretary Eric Pickles warned that a switch to smaller bins could lead to householders leaving bags of rubbish alongside their full wheelie-bins, something which is punishable with fines of up to £1,000.
Mr Pickles said: ‘I am alarmed that an unelected Whitehall quango is trying to cajole town halls into curtailing the frequency and scope of local rubbish collections. There is already concern over plans for new bin taxes and how financial pressures are forcing cuts to weekly collections.’
A spokeswoman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is an independent organisation.
‘Their guidance is for local authorities and it is for them to decide the best means of meeting local waste needs based on local circumstances.’
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