RECYCLING boxes in South Lakeland have been reduced in size to help stop bin men getting bad backs.

The 55-litre blue boxes are being phased out to 44 litres in a move by South Lakeland District Council.

It said it would avoid the risk of staff getting “musculoskeletal disorders” (MSDs) and reduce “staff fatigue”.

The boxes are used to recycle paper and card, glass bottles and jars.

Residents requesting a new box are now getting a 44-litre version instead of the old, bigger one in an initiative SLDC said had been going for about a year.

MSDs are often a primary cause of staff absence at councils and includes joints, bones and muscles.

SLDC said it had followed national guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A council spokesman said: “This has been identified as a way to reduce the potential risk of MSDs.

“There is now clear evidence associated with the risk factors of the weight and frequency of manual handling of 55-litre boxes.

“Therefore we have taken steps to reduce the capacity of the boxes in accordance with advice from the HSE.

“The 44-litre boxes are the same length and breadth as the 55-litre boxes and should be capable of fulfilling households’ needs.”

The new boxes could potentially hold the equivalent of 77 pints.