Asda has weighed in to the row about 'pay-as-you-throw' bin taxes, arguing that charging households to collect refuse would discourage recycling.

Many councils were still not collecting bulky or heavy refuse such as glass bottles or plastic packaging for recycling, claimed the retailer.

Customers were frustrated about not being able to recycle packaging from their groceries, said corporate affairs director Paul Kelly. "Until there is a consistent, nationwide approach to recycling, any form of bin tax would be unfair and unjust," he said. "We strongly oppose the bin tax."

The Waste & Resources Action Programme found

wide variations in what councils collected from the kerbside.

A survey of all 397 councils found that 85% picked up metal cans, 64% glass, 63% card and 62% plastic bottles. Only 30% collected metal foil and 12% plastics.

Asda has set itself a target of reducing packaging by 25% by the end of 2008.