Brighton and Hove City Council is proposing bringing in wheelie bins to replace black boxes at 4,500 homes in the Hangleton and Portslade areas of the city.
The local authority is one of the worst-performing in the country with just over 25 per cent of all domestic waste being recycled.
But union bosses have warned that the changes will have very little impact and called on councillors to “be bold” in bringing in more radical solutions for more frequent collections and food waste collection.
The proposed changes, if agreed by the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee next week, could be rolled out in November.
It is proposed that the £135,000 funding for the scheme will come from reserves and could be paid back in credits obtained from improving recycling rates.
The new scheme, which will begin in areas of the city where most properties have sufficient outside space to store an additional bin, has been made possible by the recent purchase of new refuse vehicles.
Council officers have said the wheelie bins will be easier for residents to use, give them increased storage and improve efficiency.
The wheelie bins will also provide better protection from the elements keeping paper and cardboard dry during downpours and stop recycling littering streets after being blown out of the boxes.
Sodden paper and cardboard is generally not recycled at present.
Wheelie bins will be used to store paper, card, cans and plastic bottles for recycling but glass will need to be collected separately
Councillors have been warned the changes could mean the quality of recycling going down as collection crews will not be able to easily spot contaminations.
To combat that possibility, the council will be spending up to £26,000 on communication and education on what materials should be put in the bins.
Mark Turner, GMB branch secretary, said councillors need to be more bold and find sufficient resources to fund a citywide food waste service, consider more regular collections and be “more robust” in enforcement with residents who do not follow recycling rules.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, chairwoman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee said: “We know there is a strong demand from residents living in suburban areas of the city for recycling wheelie bins.
“This could be a major step towards our commitment to provide a more ‘tailor made’ recycling service for all our residents.”