Birmingham is on target to meet Government waste recycling targets for the first time.
A green waste kerbside collection project covering 40,000 homes in the south of the city has proved a major success, doubling the amount of garden material previously collected.
The pilot project has also boosted collection of other recyclable waste including cans, glass, newspapers and plastics.
The city council looks certain to recycle at least 18 per cent of all waste collected this year, meeting the target set by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
The target figure could be exceeded, according to cabinet transportation member Len Gregory, who revealed that the total amount of waste recycled in Birmingham has risen by nearly 80 per cent since 2002.
Coun Gregory (Con Billesley) told a scrutiny committee that 1,400 tonnes of green waste had been collected during the first 14 weeks of the pilot project, which cost £500,000 to run. Collection of other recyclable material was running at 20 tonnes a week.
He said: "We have made a lot of progress. It is early days but I think the results are absolutely fantastic.
"It is a joy to drive down a road and see sacks of green waste and newspapers piled up for collection."
However, he accepted the council faced difficult choices if it was to meet a Government requirement that local authorities recycle 30 per cent of waste by 2010. Failure to do so could land the council with a hefty fine.
Coun Gregory said consideration would be given to extending kerbside collections across the city, but there were questions about financing such a scheme. There was no additional money available in the budget at the moment.
He added: "We put £500,000 into this scheme and that was the first time in many years that the council had increased spending on recycling. This demonstrates that this administration puts its money where its mouth is.
"We have got to evaluate the information from the pilot scheme before forming proposals about additional work next year. We are looking at what we could do and how we could do it."
One option is to boost recycling by using the £2 million saved when the Conservative-Liberal democrat coalition abandoned a wheelie bin experiment last year.
Coun Gregory said he was convinced Birmingham would not benefit from wheelie bins.
"Many people find them difficult to manhandle and they are very difficult to store. We have had a lot of complaints about wheelie bins".
He was challenged by Kath Hartley (Ladywood), Labour transportation spokeswoman, who said: "I have conducted a postal ballot among 1,100 residents. There is overwhelming support for wheelie bins."
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