HOUSEHOLDS in Worcester will be asked to trial different types of wheelie bins to determine which design would be the most suitable for the city.

Several UK-based firms have supplied sample bins and the city council is calling on residents to help evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each type before awarding a supply contract.

It will eventually cost more than a £1m to buy the bins and fund the specially adapted collection vehicles.

The Evening News revealed in December 2004 that the council plans to roll out the scheme to around 13,000 homes in October 2005.

Mike Harrison, the council's head of operational services, dismissed fears that every home will have a bin.

He said the council recognises that the system would be impractical for people living in flats and multi-occupation dwellings so many residents will continue with the present rubbish collection arrangements.

"People seem to think that Worcester is being set-up as a guinea-pig in scrapping the plastic bag system in favour of an untried wheelie bin process, but the reality is that it's a county-wide scheme that's already proving successful in Wyre Forest," he said.

Details of the homes participating in the trial scheme will not be known for around three weeks.

The chief reason for the switch, said Mr Harrision, is recycling with the council facing fines of up to £1.5m for missing Government recycling targets.

"With 16 per cent of all our rubbish now being recycled in Worcester, we're now being asked to boost that figure up to 20 per cent with other increases also looming," he said.

"The switch to an alternating collection system and wheelie bins is an essential element of a drive that could ultimately lead to Worcester ranking as one of the top recycling areas in the county, if not nationally."

He added safety was another reason for the switch following an incident in which a refuse collector was spiked by a needle.