Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has urged residents to start recycling what they can before waste collection changes start next month.

From August 12, the council will only collect general waste once a fortnight, while recycling will be collected every other week. General waste will be collected in black wheelie bins, replacing the current blue bags. But food waste collections will remain weekly.

WBC has now delivered 135,000 of these bins, hitting the halfway mark of their rollout. The authority expects deliveries to be complete by the end of July.

The council has urged residents to ensure they have enough green recycling bags, since recycling will only be collected once every two weeks.

Collection changes have proved controversial, with clashes between the Lib-Dem-led council and the conservative opposition, who are against the changes.

In March they said: “A move to fortnightly collections will see the same collection lorry continue to turn up every week at residents’ homes. But it will take less of people’s waste than it previously did.”

The party promised to reverse the changes if elected to control the council in May’s local elections.

When first proposed, the council leadership highlighted ‘unprecedented financial pressures, new government legislation and climate emergency goals’ as the reasons behind the move.

It should bring a saving of more than £1m per year by 2025/26, according to the council.

By having weekly collections, WBC is recycling nine to 14 per cent less than local authorities that collect rubbish fortnightly. It expects as a result of the changes for the recycling rate to go up by 10 per cent, reducing carbon emissions by 2,400 tonnes per year.

Steve Brown, the council’s director for environment and safety, said: “We know change can seem daunting, but we’ve been able to show that recycling soon becomes second nature and we’re here to help.

“When everyone makes those small changes, it all adds up to a big impact.”

Although half of the wheelie bins have now been delivered, residents shouldn’t be putting rubbish in them yet, as they won’t be collected, according to the council.

The council agreed to spend nearly £2 million on the rollout – three quarters of which is being used to buy and distribute the new bins.

The borough recycles about 55 per cent of all it throws away, but WBC has targets for this to rise to 70 per cent if every resident recycled all they could.