On the spot fines are being handed out to unscrupulous traders who dump waste in communal bins.

A clampdown on people who use Brighton and Hove's residential bins as a free and easy way of disposing of their trade waste has resulted in 22 penalty charges.

The £75 notices have been issued by Brighton and Hove City Council enforcement officers who are investigating a further 15 traders.

Any traders and businesses who produce waste must arrange for it to be collected from their premises by an approved and licensed contractor.

Following routine inspections carried out in December it became clear that a number of local businesses were illegally using the city's communal bins as a convenient way of disposing of their waste.

CityClean, the city council department responsible for investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes, ordered an immediate clamp-down.

Environment councillor Gill Mitchell said: "There are very clear health and safety concerns involved here. The purpose of the law is to ensure that we know what type of waste is being disposed off and whether or not that waste is hazardous.

"If businesses are not using a licensed trade waste contractor then there is no record of the type of waste they are generating and disposing off."

She warned businesses that the current enforcement blitz would continue and any repeat offenders would face the courts. Coun Mitchell also urged anyone with information on companies flouting the laws to contact the council in confidence.

Meanwhile weekly recycling collections are being extended to 13,000 extra homes across the city. From March 26, households in 220 more streets will have their kerbside recycling collected weekly instead of fortnightly.

Most homes outside of the city centre currently receive a fortnightly collection, and the city council hopes the extra frequency will increase recycling rates.

Coun Mitchell said: "The switch to a weekly collection will make it easier for people remember when to put their recycling box out and is part of our ongoing work to encourage recycling.

"The changes affect streets in various parts of the city and letters are going out this week to notify all households who will be receiving the new weekly service.

"Paper, cans, glass, cardboard, plastic bottles and household batteries can all be recycled through the kerbside collection service."

Green councillor Georgia Wrighton said this was a step in the right direction but should have been introduced years ago.

She said: "To encourage more recycling we should be rolling out weekly collections to the whole city and increasing the range of materials we collect."

Fines for those not recycling were introduced last year to help boost the rates and have helped encourage scores of households to begin filling their black boxes.

Recycling rates have risen from 24.5 per cent in 2006 to 28 per cent this year - still shy of the 30 per cent Government target.