Adur and Worthing councils are considering scrapping weekly bin collections as of September 2019.
A scheme to alternate the collections of perishable and non-recyclable waste with recycled waste could instead be introduced across the area.
The council said evidence from around the country shows that, with this type of service, recycling rates increase and levels of general waste go down.
Financial prudence is also a secondary factor behind the proposal, the council said, as with the system of recycling credits about to change, the councils could face the prospect of losing £250,000 a year – savings which would have to found elsewhere.
The leaders of Adur District Council and Worthing Borough Council, Councillor Neil Parkin and Councillor Dan Humphreys, said in a joint statement: “As yet this is only a proposal we are both looking at.
“We have rightly prided ourselves on our refuse collection service which is second to none.
“However times change and we have to continually review our policies.
“We all agree that recycling rates across the world need to increase to help the planet and despite all of our education programmes we need to move our own rates up at a more rapid pace.
“Residents can be assured that if we do change the service we will support them to ensure that the change is as smooth and as convenient as possible.”
In the past, the Tory administration has repeatedly expressed its pride at keeping weekly bin collections.
The councils invested £4.2million in a brand new fleet of 24 new waste collection vehicles in summer 2017.
At the time, councillor Diane Guest, Worthing cabinet member for environment, said: “For many people, the most visible part of a council’s services is having their bins emptied every week and we are showing with the introduction of our new fleet that we will continue to put residents at the heart of everything we do.”
Later that year, the councils resisted a suggestion from the county council to reduce the frequency of general collections.
Mr Parkin said at the time: “Our commitment to weekly collections for residents and businesses was highlighted six months ago when we invested millions of pounds in a whole new waste fleet.
“It would be folly and a waste of local taxpayers’ money to do an about turn on this less than a year in.”
In election material issued ahead of Worthing Borough Council elections earlier this year, the Conservatives hailed their success in protecting weekly bin collections.
In March, councillor Kevin Jenkins implored residents to vote Conservative to maintain weekly bin collections and ‘avoid chaos’ other parties bring.
Some opposition councillors have accused the Tories of a ‘massive u-turn’ following news of the proposals – read more here.
A council spokesman confirmed that Adur and Worthing are two of only four authorities in the county who collect general waste weekly.
Seventy-six per cent of councils in England run an alternate collection service, according to the spokesman.
Horsham District Council changed to an alternate service this year and has ‘already seen an increase in the collection of recyclable waste of approximately 200 tonnes’, the spokesman said.
Currently, only 36 per cent of waste collected in Adur and Worthing is recycled, below the average across West Sussex, with too much still being sent to landfill sites, the spokesman said.
Councils country-wide are facing a government target of reaching 50 per cent by 2020.
Under the alternate collection scheme, households would have their grey lid bins collected one week and their blue lidded the next.
The garden waste collection service would remain unchanged.
The councils Environment Framework, which is published today, would commit the councils to several measures including backing moves to see the councils go plastic-free, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2021 and back measures to help residents save on energy bills and reduce water consumption.
Both the Environment Framework and the changes to waste collection proposals will go before the Councils’ Joint Strategic Committee on November 6 for possible adoption.