Thousands of householders in East Lindsey have been inadvertently breaching regulations regarding the disposal of green waste.
The News can reveal people have continued to use green bins to get rid of food scraps and vegetable peelings - contravening national guidelines.
Regulations were announced in 2009 which effectively gave councils the power to issue fines of £1,000 or more to persistent offenders.
It has emerged East Lindsey District Council has not enforced the regulations.
That will change early next year when ELDC brings in an annual charge of £25 to collect green waste.
ELDC has revealed it will launch a “significant campaign’ to publicise the changes.
The campaign will include sending letters to every household, pointing out exactly what can be put in green bins.
Once the changes are brought in, food scraps and vegetables peelings will have to be put in black bins.
However, that has sparked fears that black bins - the smallest of the three colours used by ELDC - are not big enough to cope.
One Horncastle, resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “This is another glaring example of ELDC not thinking things through.
“We have always put our food scraps and vegetables peelings in the green bin and so has everyone else I’ve spoken to.
“No-one knew we are breaking regulations. The council has never said anything.
“My worry is black bins will not cope with the extra waste.”
There are concerns the additional waste in black bins will add levels of methane gas.
Another resident told the News: “Black bins are only collected once every two weeks and that is not enough for the amount of waste the average family generates.
“How will the council be able to tell exactly what is put in green bins? Are they going to employ people to lift every single lid and look inside?”
An ELDC spokesman said details of what could be deposited in green bins were publicised earlier this year.
He confirmed letters would be sent to householders, confirming what can be deposited in green bins and how the new charges will work. Stickers will also be available for bins.
He said anyone with concerns about the size of black bins should contact ELDC.