Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Bins and recycling

Caring, Kind, connected logo

During this national public health crisis, we’re doing everything we can to protect our workers, protect our residents and ultimately to help save lives. We need you to support us in doing this.

We understand that you have questions and concerns about waste being uplifted and we hope to answer many of your queries here. We have also produced some Frequently Asked Questions (see below) which cover many of the questions you might have.

Watch videos in British Sign Language (BSL) about changes to our waste services

Here’s why we’ve had to make changes to the way we collect your waste

  1. Due to the government’s physical distancing measures, we can only have two refuse collectors in the cab at any one time, rather than the usual three. This obviously has an impact on logistics and requires additional vehicles to support priority collections.
  2. We have reduced numbers of staff due to many of them having to self-isolate.

We have listened to your views and feedback regarding concerns you have over your waste collections. And with many people staying at home, we know that you will probably have even more waste to dispose of than usual.

Which services have resumed?

  • Garden waste collections 
  • Due to changes in government guidelines, we have now re-opened our recycling centres at Western Road, Kilmarnock and Garlaff, Skares by appointment only. Find out more about the new procedures on our recycling centres page.
  • Bulky uplift service - please arrange online via your Our East Ayrshire account  www.eastayrshi.re/upliftrequest or call 01563 554400.
  • Recycling trolley and food waste collections 
  • Private skip hire for general waste and recycling is now available for householders. Please email  waste@east-ayrshire.gov.uk. If you are an essential business and need a general waste skip, please contact us.

Which services have been suspended?

  • The automatic public conveniences in Kilmarnock and Mauchline 
  • Please do not use local recycling points such as supermarkets as we don’t have enough staff at the moment to empty these or to clean up fly-tipped material.

Here’s what will be collected

  • Your recycling trolley and food bin will be collected as per your weekly collection schedule on your normal collection day. Any additional recycling should be separated into sacks (excess paper/card in one sack, excess plastics and cans in another) and presented alongside the trolley. 
  • Your general waste bin will be collected as per your usual three weekly collection schedule on your normal collection day.
  • Your brown bin will be collected every four weeks as per your collection schedule on your normal collection day (from week beginning Monday 29 June).
  • If you don’t have a brown bin, please contact us at waste@east-ayrshire.gov.uk and we will make arrangements to help you. 

What can you put in your bin(s)?

  • All food waste should be bagged and placed in the food bin.
  • All recyclable materials: paper, card, plastic bottles/containers/cartons, tins, cans, aerosols, glass bottles/jars should be placed in the recycling trolley.
  • Nappies - anyone who receives the weekly nappy service should place the sacks within the general waste bin. Or you can double bag them and place them at the side of the general waste bin on your normal collection day.

What should I not put in my bin(s)?

  • Batteries - please bag them and place alongside your recycling trolley and food bin.

What should I do with my waste if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your general waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

We thank you again for your patience and co-operation and know that you will join us in being kind and caring to our waste team workers during this challenging time. We will keep you posted on any further developments on our website, Twitter and Facebook.

Recycling calendar

View or download your online recycling calendar.

Frequently asked questions about waste

We have tried our best to maintain all collections for as long as possible during an unprecedented period of disruption. The situation changes on a regular basis as the UK attempts to control the spread of COVID-19. This has led to services (or parts of services) being suspended at short notice when resources and staff have become unavailable.

We have to balance this lack of resources with making sure that we remove all general waste and food waste on a regular basis to protect public health. We also have to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our staff in all of the decisions that we make.

This is the waste that you cannot recycle and is normally placed in your green or grey coloured bin. 

Additional household waste can be taken to the recycling centres at Western Road, Kilmarnock and Garlaff, Cumnock by appointment only. Find out more about how to do this.

The coloured sacks are provided to householders who can’t have a bin, for example, terraced properties.

Lilac bags should be placed out for collection on your normal scheduled collection day for household waste. We will no longer be uplifting any extra side waste.

Please use your blue and red sacks for recycling in the normal way and present weekly.

Any branches/bushes should be tied in manageable bundles (no more than 3-4ft/1m in length) and placed on the kerbside for collection alongside the brown bin on your normal scheduled collection day. Garden waste should not be presented in black bags for collection.

Our recycling centres are open by appointment only and can accept excess garden waste – register for a Residents’ Recycling Permit and book your slot at www.eastayrshi.re/permits.

Please place your bagged food waste in your green food bin as normal.

Please place bagged nappies in the general waste bin. Alternatively you can double bag them and place them at the side of the general waste bin on your normal collection day.

Please do not place these in your general waste bin as they can be a fire risk if collected in a refuse collection vehicle. Please bag them and place alongside your recycling trolley and food bin.

Our recycling centres re-opened on 1 June and can be accessed by appointment only. We have extended opening hours on two week nights and at the weekend. Restrictions are in place around the types of items we can take at the moment. More information can be found on our recycling centre page.

Personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

The general waste will still be collected as normal, and the weekly recycling trolley and food waste collections have now been re-introduced. As long as all waste is responsibly bagged and stored (particularly food waste), there should be no additional risk of vermin.

The general waste will still be collected as normal, and we have already reinstated the recycling trolley and food waste collections. Garden waste collections will restart from Monday 29 June. As long as all waste is responsibly bagged and stored, there should be no additional health risks.

The bulky household waste uplift service has now resumed. Please arrange online via your Our East Ayrshire account  www.eastayrshi.re/upliftrequest or call 01563 554400.

Private skip hire for general waste and recycling is now available for householders and essential businesses. Please contact us via  waste@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

Yes it will, however, as it takes our crews considerably longer to undertake assisted collections we have accepted help from our local community led resilience teams.

Where possible, we are now making arrangements for volunteers to pull out and return your bins. If a volunteer is available, your bin will be pulled out the day before your scheduled collection day and returned once it has been emptied. All volunteers will have identification badges and you should be aware that they will need to enter your gardens or communal spaces to provide this assistance.

Using waste businesses

We all probably find ourselves generating even more rubbish than usual at the moment due to most of us being at home all the time, but please remember it is a criminal offence to dispose of it incorrectly.

Our current waste arrangements are:

  • Three weekly bin collections are still taking place.
  • Recycling trolley and food waste bin collections are taking place.
  • Recycling centres have re-opened by appointment only.
  • Garden waste collections have resumed.
  • The bulky uplift service has resumed.

If you feel you cannot wait to dispose of your rubbish as above then please be aware that:

  • East Ayrshire Council and Police are aware of a number of illegal waste businesses operating in the area
  • Many of these have no licence to remove, transport or dispose of your waste
  • Many of these will fly tip your waste
  • This implicates you in a criminal offence if this happens
  • The maximum fine a Court can issue for fly tipping is £40,000
  • A custodial sentence can also be imposed

There are, however, reputable businesses that will take your waste.

You should check if they are authorised before paying and letting them take your waste. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has a list of reputable carriers that you can check. 

Having a licence does not guarantee they are responsible. You should also ask for:

  • Proof of where your waste is to be taken
  • Proof of where and when your waste was taken and deposited via receipt
  • Reputable waste carriers will be happy to provide all of this information to you

You should also always ask for a price up front and you will often have the right to cancel the job within 14 days. Find out more on the consumeradvice.scot website.

Other queries

If you can't find the answer you're looking for on this page, please contact us using our online form.

Zero Waste Scotland

Contact Information

Council Headquarters
London Road
Kilmarnock
East Ayrshire
KA3 7BU
Contact us online: www.eastayrshi.re/contactus
Save time, do it online: www.our.east-ayrshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01563 554400
Textphone: 01563 576167
24 Hour Emergency Helpline: 0345 724 0000 (local rate)