Towns which use the giant bins put at least 20% more waste into landfill sites than traditional 'black bag' areas, a study has revealed.
David Tuthill, waste manager of Essex CC, said the problem was that wheelie bins were so convenient householders put anything into them. 'They can just drop it in and they haven't got to worry about the bag splitting,' he said.
'We've found all sorts in wheelie bins but the most unusual was a complete car engine and a small fridge. We carried out a study across the county and found wheelie bin areas typically produce 20% more waste. In some areas that figure rose to between 30% and 50% more rubbish.'
He said the bins should be scrapped or the amount of rubbish householders can put into them limited. 'Ideally, they go or at least be halved in size. The other option is to limit collections to once every other week.'
Environmental group Waste watch backed the move. A spokeswoman said: 'Local authorities should be considering limiting the introduction of more 240 litre wheeled bins. Councils which have introduced them have experienced a substantial increase in waste.'
The government is due to publish its new waste strategy shortly and it is understood the report could contain recommendations about the future use of wheelie bins.