Elliot Morley this week warned councils failing to hit their recycling targets: I have you in my sights.
The Environment Minister got tough at the opening of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Annual Conference in Torbay.
He hailed last months Municipal Waste Management Survey, which showed the amount of waste sent to landfill sites in England had dropped to 1999 levels.
But he insisted some councils were holding up the UKs progress and vowed to make sure they improved.
There is an unacceptable gap between the best and worst performing local authorities, Morley told delegates.
We want to celebrate the success of the best performers and ensure that the worst performers raise their game. We are prepared to use the full range of measures.
There is a long, long way to go to be in the situation where we can sit back and congratulate ourselves.
Morley also left the door open for a strategic waste authority to help oversee the move towards sustainable development.
Incoming CIWM president Alistair Lamont used his inaugural speech to call for a single body to co-ordinate the UKs attempt to tackle the waste challenge.
Morley accepted the need for improvements to the UKs planning approval system.