Cardiff is considering a range of options, including moving to four-weekly residual waste collections, to meet Welsh recycling targets and avoid financial penalties.
Recycling rates in the capital rose from 39% to 52% in three years, but then slipped back to 50% in 2013-14.
Cardiff has also sent to landfill more biodegradable waste than the amount set by the Welsh Government as part of an annual council allowance scheme.
The local authority could face a penalty fee of more than £800,000 if it fails to meet a statutory target of recycling 52% of its waste in 2014-15, with the objective rising to 58% the year after.
“We were quick to notice we had reached a plateau and concluded that doing nothing is not an option for us,” said Cllr Bob Derbyshire, cabinet member for environment.
“We are keenly aware of Welsh Government targets and the potential for being penalised if we fall short. This we have been working closely with Welsh Government on proposals for a new strategy to reinvigorate the city’s recycling performance.”
In a report outlining the council’s waste strategy for 2015-18, the environmental scrutiny committee said that the cabinet will considers options such as changing the frequency of residual waste collection from fortnightly to three or four-weekly, or providing smaller containers to households.
This would be to limit the amount of waste that can be presented for collection, a policy in place in the top performing local authorities in Wales.
“It is felt that education and persuasion will be insufficient to drive recycling,” the report said. “Restricting the quantities of general waste that people can present is required.”
The report will be discussed by the cabinet on 9 October.
Wales has recycled 54% of municipal waste in 2013-14, with rates hitting 63% in some local authorities.