In this gloomy economic climate one council has found a way to save money in a bid to stay within budget - it has commissioned thinner bin bags.
Sevenoaks District Council has a contract with BPI Recycled Products to produce the bags from scrap plastic. But production has been hit by fast rising fuel and oil costs, which have driven up the price of the plastic. This meant an increase in the cost to the council of £17,000.
A council spokesman said: We had to find a way to keep within the budget so the councils waste managers and the contractor discussed the options and decided to make the sacks thinner by one micron (0.0010mm), to 24 microns rather than 25. To compensate, the mix of the plastics from which the sacks are made will be changed to maintain a sack of equal strength but one that is thinner.
He added that there would be no loss of quality and said: The manufacturers have assured us of the strength and an independent testing company is verifying this for us.
It is by finding innovative solutions to problems such as this that the council manages to maintain a first-class refuse and recycling service, without transferring rising fuel costs to the tax payer.
Residents will get the new sacks in September.