Moves to replace Birmingham's black plastic bag refuse collection with wheelie bins have been rubbished by a senior city council official.
Environmental services director Ian Coghill believes the large containers would encourage households to throw out more waste and would be "misused" by people disposing of soil, bricks, tiles and building materials.
The cost of altering dust carts to cope with the bins would make the system expensive to operate – at a cost of #86 per tonne collected compared to #75 per tonne for plastic bags.
There would also be serious implications on the council's recycling performance, with more than 8,000 tonnes of composting material a year being thrown into wheelie bins and finding its way into the domestic waste stream.
Mr Coghill's comments feature in a written report to the transportation and street services scrutiny committee, which will meet today to examine Birmingham's record on recycling and waste collection.
Committee chairman Martin Mullaney is not happy with the analysis.
"If wheelie bins are so awful, then why do so many towns and cities already have them while others are planning to introduce them? Is Birmingham incredibly unique, or do we just have something against wheelie bins?," Coun Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley & King's Heath) said.
Wheelie bins are widely used throughout the country. West Midlands local authorities operating the system include Walsall, Wolverhampton, Tamworth and Nuneaton and Bedworth. Wheeled bins are also used in Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and many London boroughs.
The bins have been resisted by Conservative council leaders in Birmingham, who fear the cost of introducing a city-wide system, covering 400,000 properties, would top #2 million.
Len Gregory, cabinet member for transportation, last night promised to listen to the views of local communities, where a majority of people wanted wheelie bins. But he warned of serious cost implications.
Supporters of wheelie bins point to environmental benefits, with hygiene advantages over plastic bags which are prone to attract rats and infestation. Getting rid of the labour-intensive plastic bag system would also produce employment savings for the council.
However, Mr Coghill warned: "Councils which have changed to individual wheeled bins from other methods typically have reported an increase in the amount of rubbish per head of population. If this increase was to occur in Birmingham, the additional cost would be significant."
Local authorities switching weekly household collections to fortnightly, in an attempt to reduce collection costs, had encountered "unacceptable levels" of kitchen waste added to green material, he added.
Mr Coghill said: "Wheeled bin rounds usually contain fewer properties than the current collection rounds in Birmingham, so more vehicles are needed and many days of collection are likely to be altered, with some inevitable disruption.
"The vehicle servicing wheeled bins stops at each house, rather than at a few points where sacks are gathered, and thus tends to impede following traffic rather more in congested streets."
It is also feared that many properties in inner-city Birmingham, with small or non-existent gardens, have no space to store wheelie bins.