Cllr Lorna Campbell rolled up her sleeves and leant an extra pair of helping hands to a Veolia waste and recycling crew as they went about their round in Kennington, Waterloo and the South Bank last week.
Cllr Campbell, who as Lambeth Council's cabinet member for environment has responsibility for setting waste and recycling policy, went 'back to the floor' to experience first hand the challenges faced every day by the staff who collect rubbish and recycling from thousands of homes and businesses across the borough each week.
She spent the morning helping on the round as well as chatting to the crews to learn more about some of the challenges they face every day.
"It was a real privilege to meet the team and get an insight into what they do for the borough while most of us are still asleep," said Cllr Campbell.
"I also wanted to thank them on behalf of local residents for their work during the snow and ice before Christmas. The fact that they shrugged off freezing temperatures and even worked weekends to catch up was absolutely outstanding.
"By comparison we only had to put up with a bit of rain when I helped out, but I definitely have a new respect for the work the crews do.
"The experience was a real eye-opener and one of the things that really impressed me was the patience with which the crews dealt with problems, like people putting things in the wrong bins, or drivers parking inconsiderately and blocking their access.
"One bin had been dumped full of bricks and builders rubble, for example, which meant it couldn't be collected.
"The main thing I took away was that we all have a responsibility to make sure we are all doing our bit by recycling, but also making sure we help the crews by putting out our waste for collection in the right way and in the right bins.
"That way we make the crews' lives a little easier and ensure everyone gets their waste collected on time."
From 4 April, recycling will become compulsory in Lambeth. The council is also introducing charges for green and bulky waste removal. The changes will be introduced alongside a ban on green waste in refuse bins, charging for replacement refuse bins and a new trade waste recycling service.
Cllr Campbell said: "Reducing waste and increasing recycling is not just about helping the environment, it's about keeping costs down too as we will all be hit in the pocket if we don't act."
"It's everybody's responsibility to think more carefully about what we buy, what we throw away, and whether we can re-use it."