Fines of up to £100 could be imposed on residents who fail to use their bins properly under new proposals being drawn up to improve recycling rates.
Leeds City Council chiefs say enforcement action resulting in fines of £60 or £100 could be carried out if people continue to fail to use their bins properly after a programme of information, education and warnings.
The local authority said it could save £1.75m a year if residents on every Leeds street recycled using their green bins as much as the best performing street in the city.
Around 40 per cent of all household waste in Leeds is currently recycled and the council is to spend £250,000 this year on a recycling education programme in a bid to improve that figure.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “People shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that issuing fines is another way for us to make money. It isn’t.
“The cost of efforts we will go to help people get into good recycling habits will outweigh any fines levied.
“The majority of people ‘get’ recycling and we’re incredibly grateful for their support. Some people might still be unsure of what or how to recycle and we’re more than happy to help them get it right.
“But we can’t continue to turn a blind eye to problems that are ultimately costing us unnecessarily and mean we can’t make Leeds a cleaner or greener place to live or work. By working with people we hope to iron these problems out and enforcement really will be a last resort.”
Councillors will be asked to agree to the use of enforcement powers for “persistent and unreasonable waste and recycling behaviours” at Thursday’s executive board meeting.