Cork County Council has had to remove litter bins from some areas due to abuse by the public.
Responding to a motion from Fianna Fáil councillor Gearóid Murphy calling for a trial programme putting recycling bins next to existing litter bins, environment director Louis Duffy said that the council is reluctant to provide additional bins.
"The litter bin service is the subject of constant abuse where general waste is deposited in them, filling them at a rate that makes them unavailable for their intended collection litter," he said.
"As a consequence, areas around litter bins become littered and unsightly.
"It is for this reason that the council is reluctant to provide additional bins and in some areas has been forced to remove existing ones," he said.
"The provision of segregated bins would result in a significant increase in the cost on their management and would have a high risk of contamination of recyclable materials by other waste streams," he added.
However, he said that he will look to other local authorities to see if there has been any successful public recycling schemes introduced elsewhere.
Mr Murphy questioned the approach and said the council needs to act.
"This is one of the few areas where the council is in the driver's seat and has control.
"How can we change the attitude and culture of the people and the public if we ourselves don't offer a sustainable option?"
His party colleague Christopher O'Sullivan said that Clonakilty already provides an example of how to do this successfully.
"When the new streetscape was laid out in Clonakilty, the public bins had the exact same separation that Cllr Murphy is referring to - a section for waste and a section for recycling.
"From what I have seen, and this is only anecdotal evidence on the ground, they have been used very well, they have not been abused, and people are making a genuine effort to segregate their rubbish," he said.