CHANGES to refuse collections in the Northumberland including new routes and staff working a four-day week will come into force this year.
The new Monday to Thursday working system is designed to save more than £200,000 in the next two years.
County council officials also say it will reduce the carbon footprint and provide a better service to residents.
New routes will be used from the week starting Monday, May 9, in the south east of Northumberland.
Coun Ian Lindley, executive member for neighbourhood services at the county council, said: “Although the day or time of collection will change for a number of householders there will also be benefits, including less disruption at bank holidays and more accessible information about the collection service.”
The changes were approved by the council’s executive on Monday.
There will be revenue savings of £98,000 in 2011-12 and £104,000 in 2012-13.
The savings will be made through reductions in fuel, staff and vehicle costs as the county will be using new, more efficient routes which reduce the overall rounds by more than 1,300 miles a week and have been designed using GPS trackers in the vehicles.
Other changes include making the start times for collections no earlier than 7am to prevent excess noise and disturbance to residents and adopting a four-day working week for most staff.
The four-day week will also result in a change of collection day for around 50 per cent of residents. These changes have not yet been finalised.
Coun Ian Lindley said: “It’s a sensible timescale so we can deal with any issues as they arise starting with the least difficult, the garden waste.”
The new routes for residents who have their garden waste collected will begin in the week starting Monday, February 28.
Members also approved raising the cost of the garden waste collection service from £20 to £21 for the next year.
It is also hoped that private companies such as garden centres and plant nurseries may sponsor prizes to encourage residents to not pay by cheque.