Stafford Borough Council has refused to empty a family's recycling bin, because they have been using bin liners to keep it clean.
Paul and Nicola Davies bought the liners to keep the bin clean and reduce bad smells in between their fortnightly collections. They planned to replace the liner after each collection.
The liners fit tightly to the bin and, say the couple, stay in place when the bin is emptied.
However, the council has decided that using the liners amounts to putting out bagged waste - which can contaminate recycling.
"When we came home on the last collection day there was a big rejection sticker on the bin and they had refused to empty it because there was a liner in the bin," Mr Davies tells the Daily Mail.
"There is a liner in the bin but it would never leave the bin so I don't understand why they wouldn't empty it when the liner was too tight to come out of the bin."
However, the council is standing form on its decision.
"When a lorryload of recycling arrives at the processing facility, the whole load could be rejected and sent to landfill or incineration if it contains recycling inside bags, known as 'bagged waste'," it says.
Recycling rules vary widely from district to district, and councils can be extremely strict in enforcing them. Last year, for example, we reported on a wheelchair-bound grandmother whose recycling bin was ignored for a month.
Her carers had placed it at the bottom of her drive - too far from the kerb, Liverpool Council said.
Earlier this year, Hull City Council was slammed for hiring private investigators to go through people's bins and make sure they were rinsing containers out; those found to be failing were sent on re-education programmes, with repeat offenders losing their recycling bin altogether. More than 20,000 locals had them taken away.
Other councils have been accused of treating residents as cash cows, dishing out fines at the drop of a hat.