People in Wellingborough are to have their recycling checked over the next couple of months in an effort to reduce the amount of contamination in the green bins.
Any bins found to contain non-recyclable rubbish will be left unemptied and the householders contacted to explain why.
If the items are then taken out, the bins will be emptied on the next recycling collection date.
The move comes after new figures show that Wellingborough has the lowest recycling rate in the whole of Northamptonshire.
If a green bin contains items that can’t be sent for recycling the whole load becomes contaminated and has to go to landfill.
Certain areas, including streets around the Queensway estate and in the east of the town, have been shown to have higher levels of contamination than others, and they will be the focus of the education project over the next few weeks.
The team will then try and extend the project to the rest of the borough.
Officers from Wellingborough Norse, the company that carries out environmental services on behalf of the council, will monitor the recycling on the days that residents put out their green bins for collection.
They will check the bins before the refuse trucks come round and indicate which ones should be left, before speaking to affected residents.
They will then use the alternate weeks, when black household waste bins are collected, to knock on doors and offer more general recycling advice to all residents.
Mark Reneerkens, from Wellingborough Norse, said: “We’ve just started this project and will continue to run it for a few more weeks to try and reduce the amount of contaminated recycling we have to send to landfill.
“Landfill tax alone is £80 per tonne, not including disposal charges, and this goes up every year.
“This is taxpayers’ money and it could be so much better spent.
“Lots of people do recycle, and recycle correctly, but we do know that more needs to done.
“Recycling in Wellingborough is very easy, with glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, tins and even plastic carrier bags all in the one bin.
“But we keep finding household rubbish, food waste, old clothes, bits of broken furniture and more chucked in as well.
“We’re hopeful this project will give us a better picture of just how big an issue this is, as well as help to educate residents about the importance of recycling.”
Two recycling officers from the Northamptonshire Waste Partnership have been loaned to Wellingborough Norse to help with the project.
More information about recycling is available from Wellingborough Norse on 01933 234520 or at www.wellingborough.gov.uk.