More than 140,000 homes across the capital are to be given smaller refuse bins in an attempt to encourage households to go green.

The capacity of the wheelie bins will be reduced from 240 litres to just 140 in changes costing £3 million, meaning they will only have room for five average-sized bags of rubbish, instead of the current eight.

Edinburgh City Council is hoping the cost of the changes, due to be phased in over the next year, will be offset by more recycling.

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Bin collections were cut from weekly to every two weeks for general rubbish in 2012. The amount of rubbish put out for non-recycling in the city has been reduced by 25 per cent in two years.

Environment convener Lesley Hinds said: "The large green bin currently used for landfill will be used for recycling, and the smaller bins we're going to buy will be for landfill.

"The idea is we are trying to encourage recycling. The bigger the bin you have the easier it is for recycling.

"Other authorities have brought in smaller bins for landfill and it works."

Conservative environment spokeswoman Joanna Mowat said the latest changes may be too much for some. She said "some people are just going to say they cannot cope with smaller bins."