RESIDENTS will be encouraged to swap their large grey bin for a smaller one in the latest bid to boost recycling in Bolton.

Bolton Council bosses have laid out plans to give people the chance to swap their current 240-litre grey bin for one nearly half the size to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

Cllr Nick Peel, the executive member in charge of bins and the environment, said: “What we hope to do is encourage more use of the smaller bins — it’s better because it means there are fewer bins taking up space in gardens and it’s also reflecting the fact that people are making full use of the recycling bins.”

Recycling rates in Bolton rose by seven per cent in seven months last year following the switch to fortnightly black bin collections.

The percentage of household waste sent for recycling or composting rose from 31 to 38 per cent.

Before the changes, Bolton’s recycling rates were in the bottom 15 per cent of the country.

It was also the second worst in Greater Manchester, with only Salford Council behind it at 29 per cent.

The authority is following in the footsteps of Bury Council, which ran a campaign to provide the smaller containers for free, as people get used to recycling their household waste.

The council will soon only charge £10 for a new 140-litre bin, compared with the old rate of £31 for replacing missing, stolen or vandalised containers.

But the charge for the traditional 240-litre bins will rise to £40.

Town hall chiefs say the new charges could save the council more than £6,000 a year.

But they estimate that about 500 people will initially take up the offer — costing the council £2,325.

Cllr Peel said he hopes the scheme will mean less rubbish is sent to landfill.

He added: “We’ll be offering people the chance to swap their 240 bin for a 140, and there’s no charge for that.

“There is no compulsion on this. Our recycling system, which is doing very well, is tailored to individual needs as much as possible — so if there’s a family that needs a 240 litre bin, that’s fine.”

But Tory leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said it was ironic that this move had been accepted after the Conservatives first proposed it.

The group had called on the council last year to adopt the Trafford model and introduce a smaller size bin — and keep weekly bin collections.

He added: “You cannot underestimate the psychological impact on residents of the physical presence of a smaller grey bin, hence a smaller weekly capacity, hence the need to recycle.

“By reducing the weekly capacity by 100 litres, residents are encouraged to recycle more and be mindful of waste minimisation.”

Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of the Liberal Democrats, welcomed the move to boost recycling.

He said: “If it’s voluntary I think it’s a good thing — it has been shown that if you reduce capacity then that helps recycling.

“If this was the start towards the move of monthly grey bin collections, it is something that would have to be looked at very carefully and I would oppose.”