FOUR local authorities are to shrink the size of rubbish bins in a bid to force residents to recycle more and avoid costly European Union fines.
Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeen, and Perth and Kinross are reducing bins from 240 litres to 180 or 140 litres for fortnightly collections in the coming months.
Other councils, such as Falkirk, are planning a collection every three weeks and East Ayrshire is considering monthly bin collections.
West Dunbartonshire and East Lothian councils will be switching to fortnightly uplifts, following most other Scottish authorities.
Edinburgh will change its bins to 140 litres, enough to hold around five black bags of rubbish, from September.
Perth and Kinross will trial smaller bins in Auchterarder and the Perth areas of Oakbank and Western Edge from 2015.
Fife will also launch a trial next February.
Aberdeen City Council said the decision was made two months ago for 180-litre bins though they will not be introduced until 2015-16.
By contrast, city recycling bins there are increasing to 280 litres from smaller bins for separate types of goods.
Environment campaigners said the move would help meet Scotland’s goals of minimising the waste sent to landfill, which face stiff penalties per tonne from the EU.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “There is clear evidence that smaller bins help people remember to recycle more.
“If you are already recycling everything you can you won’t be worried by the general waste bin getting smaller because you’ll already be throwing much less away than in the past.”
The Scottish Government set targets to reduce waste by 15 per cent by 2025.
The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 require separate collections for food waste and recyclable material, which came into force for businesses in January, applying to other businesses come 2016.
Any metal, plastic, glass, paper, card and food collected separately for recycling is now banned from going to incineration or landfill.
Edinburgh City Council’s new scheme will be introduced in phases from 1 September, when about 20,000 homes will have red and blue boxes replaced by a wheelie bin and a box.
The council said every tonne of waste sent to landfill costs £110 under the EU’s Landfill Directive, offering a savings of £2 million a year with smaller rubbish bins.
Environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Recycling is something everyone needs to embrace if Edinburgh is to become a sustainable city.” Jean Morrison, convener of Aberdeen City Council’s zero waste management sub-committee, said it had a duty to stop needlessly burying waste in the ground.
She said: “A single, large wheeled bin for recycling would drastically increase the volume of waste a single household can recycle and make the process much simpler, removing the necessity to separate recyclable materials into different containers.
“Clearly the council has to balance its aspirations and ambitions for waste management with those of the city’s citizens and provide collection services that are suitable and appropriate for all.
“We believe that reducing the capacity of the general waste wheeled bin while vastly increasing the capacity to recycle would strike the best balance.”