Some Belfast householders could see the size of their rubbish bins shrink if plans designed to cut landfill waste are approved.
Belfast City Council is considering introducing slimmer black bins for parts of the city, which would gradually replace the larger, standard ones.
The bins would be one quarter smaller than the standard bins currently used.
It is part of an attempt to slash the amount of municipal waste being sent to landfill, and increase the amount that is recycled instead. Under the plans, any new houses which are built will be issued with the smaller black bins.
In addition, any house whose black bin is damaged, lost or stolen will be given a smaller bin to replace it.
When it was suggested that approaching the issue in this way would take a long time to roll it out, a spokesman said: “It has to be done gradually.”
The spokesman said he believed that Belfast may be the first authority in Northern Ireland to do this, although it is understood Newtownabbey Borough Council is also considering a similar scheme.
The current standard black bins are 240 litres in capacity, while the new smaller ones are 180 litres.
The proposals originally came up in a report to the council’s health and environmental services committee on August 7.
The report states that the new plan “involves adopting a 180 litre bin as the standard size for residual waste [meaning black bin waste]”.
The report, from the council’s head of waste management, continues: “Research has demonstrated that restricting the household bin space available for residual waste generally results in a compensatory increase in recycling rates...
“A 180 litre black bin for residual waste per household should be more than adequate in most cases.”
The smaller bins have actually been available for years to those who wanted them, said the council spokesman.
This move to introduce them as standard simply serves to make the drive towards smaller bins more “regimented”.
There are exceptions, however.
Households which have six-or-more occupants are currently entitled to get a 360 litre bin.
This will remain unchanged.
However, although the plans have been up before the committee, the ultimate decision to introduce the smaller bins in the manner described above will still have to be ratified by a meeting of the full council.
The matter is expected to come before the full council on September 2.
Meanwhile, at present houses in what the council calls Belfast’s “inner city” already have a black recycling box, but between August and November are being given an additional one. The red boxes are designed to take waste such as glass and paper.
The council has to increase its recycling rates up to at least 50 per cent by 2020, or else face fines. Several other councils have already achieved the target.
For queries on the scheme, call the council helpline on 0800 032 8100.