Thieves have stolen £6,000 worth of steel rubbish bins from around Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The black bins have been cut from their locations in streets and town centres as well as from lay-bys on main roads.
Council leaders say the thefts are by "opportunists" who have taken the bins to sell as scrap.
Deputy leader Anthony Christopher said: "The money that the thieves receive is just a small percentage of what the actual bins cost to replace."
Mr Christopher added: "In the current economic climate where the council is under pressure to cut spending this is a cost that the council will have to recover from other key front line services."
The council said it was checking its CCTV footage to see if it can identify the thieves.
Anyone with any information about the thefts can contact South Wales Police on 101.