REFUSE collectors could stop picking up extra rubbish which won't fit into wheelie bins in a bid to slash waste going to landfill, despite fears it could lead to more fly-tipping.

Braintree Council is set to ban collections of additional rubbish left at the side of bins.

Residents who continue to put out "side waste" could be fined £200.

Last year, the Braintree district generated the fourth highest volume of residual waste in Essex.

The district recorded 463kg of waste per household compared to 332kg in Colchester.

Colchester operates a "waste limitation policy" where crews do not collect any side waste and restrict households on black sack collections to a maximum of three bags a fortnight.

All excess waste is ‘stickered’ and left.

Braintree Council is now looking to stop collecting side waste from April 1 next year.

A report due to go before bosses next week says: "This council has always discouraged side waste through a process of education and intervention, as well as through promotional campaigns over the years in partnership with Love Essex and other partners around waste minimisation and recycling initiatives.

"However, this informal approach has not delivered a substantive change in people’s behaviour and a more robust approach is needed to help the council and its residents reduce their residual waste to meet recycling targets and waste minimisation objectives."

The council admits it is likely to see an increase in complaints from residents whose waste has not been collected.

It also admits there could be the "potential for some waste to be fly-tipped".

But it hopes the move will reduce overall waste in the long run and increase recycling.

It comes on top of controversial plans to start charging for garden waste collections from March.

A three-month marketing campaign will take place in the run-up to April in a bid to get households to cut down on waste.

The latest move comes on top of controversial plans by the council to start charging for garden waste collections.

A Braintree Council spokesman said, “We all need to think about what we buy and take greater responsibility for reducing the amount of household waste we produce to help save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, positively impact the environment, and pave the way for a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

"The Policy for Household Waste and Recycling Collections including the non-collection of side (excess) waste will be discussed at Council on December 18 and, if approved, the side waste element of the policy will be introduced from April 1, 2024 to give householders time to adapt to the change.

"One of the key aims of the new policy is to support a more circular economy by keeping resources in use for as long as possible, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling, to extend the life cycle of products.”

The council also said it will keep residents informed of any updates.