THE Really scary part of Halloween came late for one Knutsford resident, who’s been told the council won’t empty her bin until March because it contained a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

Knowing council changes meant it’d be spring before her garden waste would be taken, Zoe Eckersley made a point of remember, remembering the fifth of November green wheelie bin collection.

But the 40-year-old said she was ‘absolutely outraged’ to find bin men had refused to empty it on the grounds it contained a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds.

To make matters worse, Zoe said her neighbour had just been advised by workers at Knutsford tip to dispose of their orange orbs in the garden waste skip.

The pumpkin paradox left Zoe furious and demanding answers from the council, who wrote to say that they wouldn’t be coming back to sort it out.

An email from Cheshire East Council’s customer services said: “The waste department are unable to return to empty your bin because the crew found food waste in your bin.

“We cannot accept any food waste, including vegetables/seeds from your garden. This is because of foot and mouth restrictions on the farmland we use to dispose of your waste.”

The ruling seemed to indicate that gardeners must laboriously strip their fruit and veg plants of edible elements when pruning their home-growns.

An exasperated Zoe phoned to clarify the position.

She said: “We grow strawberries and I asked what I should do if I need to dispose of berries that have been pecked at by birds or spoilt.

“Apparently the berries themselves need to go in the black bin or be composted. Only the strawberry plant and leaves can go in the green bin. Rhubarb leaves are OK though, apparently.

“I do not understand the logic. It’s an absolute joke.

“Another friend had ten pumpkins to dispose of. They took them to Knutsford tip and were told to put them in the garden waste section.

“Hundreds of people must have put pumpkins in their green bins last week and thousands must be unknowingly disposing of fruits, seeds and vegetables.

“How is it that in Trafford, residents can dispose of all food waste in their green bin including chicken carcasses?”

Clr David Topping, cabinet member in charge of the environment, said: “All of our waste collection crews are trained to assess the contents of garden bins before they are emptied into the collection vehicle, and they will not be emptied if the crew find any waste that could be considered as food waste.

“For clarity, household waste recycling centres do allow whole fruit and vegetables grown in a residential garden to be added to the garden waste skip, but this is the only exception.”

He added that the borough’s garden waste was sent to local farms for composting, and any farms found with food on its site would be prosecuted by the Environment Agency.