Waste collection crews are being issued with devices featuring GPS technology that allow councils to store a history of information about individual rubbish collections, including whether householders are failing to recycle properly.
The system feeds binmen with up-to-the minute information about houses they are visiting.
It also provides local authorities with enough information to issue recycling advice or automated fines to residents who fail to obey bin rules.
Opposition MPs and campaigners say the technology will make it easy for the government to resurrect plans for the introduction of a £50 pay-as-you-throw tax on millions of families.
Recycling charges are part of the Government's waste strategy to encourage households to recycle at least 40 per cent of their rubbish by 2010, rising to 50 per cent by 2020.