IT is a mammoth project that faces major teething problems, but if it works Swindon could have the best recycling system in the country.

That is the view taken by the council as it prepares to introduce weekly kerbside recycling and fortnightly wheelie bin collections across the town.

The changes will mean the end of the traditional rubbish collection, as the bin men will only come around for landfill waste once a fortnight.

But as early as July 23, residents should start to see the benefits of a greener approach. Thousands of recycling boxes will be issued for residents to store paper, card, glass, cans and foil for recycling.

A fleet of eleven giant yellow trucks, manned by council staff, will criss-cross the town to make sure that recycling targets are hit.

George Walker was the council officer responsible for bringing the giant collection vehicles to Swindon.

He said: "The green ambassadors will be coming out with us and the vans on the collection rounds to make sure that people know what they are supposed to be recycling. It was a long wait getting the lorries because there is a huge demand at the moment given the popularity of recycling schemes nation-wide."

If the council fails it will face EU and UK fines of up to £3m.

Coun David Wren cabinet member for local environment, said: "We are bringing in a completely new service, which we think will be the best in Wiltshire, if not the country."

The main difference from other boroughs is that recycling will be collected from the kerb on a weekly rather than fortnightly basis.

From late September normal waste will be picked up every 14 days, and it is hoped that residents will change their habits as a result.

Bill Fisher, director of commercial services, said: "We are later than many councils in introducing a full recycling programme, but it means we have been able to visit other towns and learn from their mistakes.

"On an operational level this is a huge project and we hope it will make a real difference to our recycling rates."

In 2007 the council recycled 32 per cent of household waste collected, a figure that jumped from 17 per cent in 2005.

The aim is to reach 50 per cent by 2010, which will enable the council to deliver promise number 49 from its list of 50.

There had been speculation that residents would be forced into changing over to wheelie bins, but Steve Harcourt, the council's director of environ-ment and health, said that would not happen.

He said: "Residents who do not have the storage for a wheelie bin will continue to have black bag collections.

"There are between 5,500 and 6,000 residents for whom that will be the case, and their rubbish will still be taken on a weekly basis."

For those who have wheelie bins, the capacity will either be 240 litres or 120 litres.

The larger is equivalent to four black bags per fortnight, which could be a significant reduction for large families.

In October last year the council refused to collect a pile of eight bags from Freshbrook resident John Chandler, and it was stated that fines could be issued.

Fines could still happen under the new system for those who create too much rubbish, but Mr Fisher insisted that was a last resort.

He said: "That is technically one of the powers we have but we want to take a positive approach to this project.

"That's why we'll have the ambassadors in place, and why we would do everything to help residents as we go through the changeover."