RESIDENTS who are rubbish at recycling could soon get a knock on the door from a council officer – or their neighbour – who will put them right.
The council said the plan will help address falling recycling rates, after figures published by Defra showed the amount of waste the borough reuses dropped by 2.1 per cent in 2013/14.
Stuart Collins, cabinet member for Clean and Green Croydon, said that staff would inspect people's bins to see who is failing to do their bit for the environment before giving them advice on the doorstep.
He told the Advertiser that councillors and public volunteers, dubbed "street champions", would be given training to hand out tips as well.
"What we need is a big education exercise because it's quite clear that, in some areas, people just don't get it," he said. "They're putting all the wrong stuff in their recycling bins and filling up too many black bags for landfill. We've tried putting leaflets through doors but no one is reading them – it's time to try something different.
"If someone comes up to me and says we can't do it because it's 'nanny state' I would say it's not, because council tax payers foot the bill."
Cllr Collins said the 170 street champions would be encouraged to give advice to their neighbours.
"We're not going to push them to do it but if they do want have a chat with their neighbours then they can do so with a bit of authority," he explained.
"There's a health and safety aspect to it so I wouldn't encourage them to do it to someone they don't already know.
"But, if you're the sort of person who gets on really well with your neighbours, you can say hello to them and say: 'Did you know your recycling goes in that bin over there'."
Last week the Advertiser revealed the council planned to restore weekly black bin collections in areas worst-affected by fly-tipping. Cllr Collins also plans to combine recycling into a single bin, rather than separate boxes for plastics and cardboard.
His latest idea could perhaps prove the most controversial but the enthusiastic politician, who declared to the Advertiser this week "I live and breathe bins", believes it is necessary.
"I don't think taking pride in your community is 'snooping'," he said.
"The people are doing this just don't care. The only way the authorities can change their minds is to do a campaign like this."