Bin collection could be cut to once a month to meet EU recycling targets.

A report due to be presented to government ministers next week claims that recycling rates in England have stagnated in recent years, despite the continuing decline of weekly bin collections.

And it warns that Britain will face heavy fines from unless radical action is taken to force families to recycle more.

About 45% of waste in England is currently recycled, but that rate has changed little in recent years.

In a bid to raise recycling rates to 51%, the report suggests issuing households with a slop bucket to throw away food waste, which would be collected weekly and recycled. Collections of residual waste would then be cut to possibly just once a month.

It says: ‘While a controversial issue, reductions in the frequency of residual waste collections have the potential to increase participation.”

The study also suggests that a Continental-style pay-as-you-throw system for waste disposal could increase recycling rates to 57%.

In March, Labour-run Fife Council became the first local authority in the UK to announce a trial of monthly bin pick-ups.

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