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Contacting us

Our Cleaner Communities phone lines are very busy.

The 2023 Garden Waste Permits are no longer available to purchase. We are now working on the permits for the 2024 season. Updates on this will be available early 2024. 

If you would like to arrange for a brown bin to be removed please use the link below.

Arrange for your brown bin to be removed

For general enquiries please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), or email

Recycling calendar

View your recycling calendar

Who is eligible for the service

The service applies to council tax rated domestic properties only. Only customers assigned to a Council brown bin collection route are eligible to apply to the Garden Waste Collection Service.

Options for dealing with your garden waste

You now have two options to choose from when disposing of your garden waste. You can:

  1. purchase a garden waste permit
  2. dispose of garden waste for free at the recycling centres on Western Road, Kilmarnock and Garlaff, near Cumnock

A major benefit of having these options is that we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint due to heavy vehicles having to make fewer journeys to the processing facility to deposit garden waste.

Option 1: Garden waste permit

If you choose to purchase a garden waste permit, these are available to order now at a cost of £30 per bin per season.

All 2023 permits will be valid between March and November 2023 for four-weekly collections.

In setting this charge, we carried out comparisons with other councils who run the scheme and have tried to keep it as low as possible.

Once a permit has been purchased either online or by phone, a permit sticker will be issued which should be stuck to your garden waste bin using the instructions provided. Please ensure the new permit is clearly displayed and, if possible, place it on top of the old permit. 

Please note that your sticker may take up to 21 days to arrive. Our crews will have your permit information so even if you don't have it yet, your bin will still be collected.

How to apply for your permit

To apply for a permit you will need to:

  • register for an Our East Ayrshire customer account (if you don't already have one)
  • verify your email address
  • follow the simple steps to apply for your garden waste permit

If you already have a customer account you can apply direct using the online form above.

Don't have internet access

If you don’t have internet access you can call 01563 554400 (Option 6) to purchase a permit.

What you can recycle

With a permit, you can recycle:

  • grass cuttings
  • small twigs and branches
  • leaves
  • cut flowers
  • houseplants
  • weeds
  • hedge clippings
  • sawdust
  • bark
  • hay

Option 2: Dispose of garden waste for free at recycling centres

Householders can recycle garden waste at their local recycling centre free of charge.

Recycling centres are located at Western Road, Kilmarnock and Garlaff, near Cumnock. Please be aware that a recycling permit and an appointment is required to visit recycling centres.

No longer require your brown bin

If you no longer require your garden waste bin/s, you can arrange for them to be removed using our online form above. 

Terms and conditions

View the Garden Waste Collection Service terms and conditions.

Transfer waste permits if you move house

After listening to issues raised by our residents, we're making further changes to these collection arrangements to make them more accessible and to encourage greater participation to help improve the environment.

It will now be possible to transfer waste permits if you move house within East Ayrshire; the eligibility criteria for the Garden Maintenance Scheme has been revised to provide support for eligible tenants who are unable to look after their gardens; and support will be available to help people who are worried about the affordability of the new scheme.

Supporting our communities

We know that our residents are passionate about their communities, their gardens and green spaces and we're keen to support them.

Garden equipment loan scheme

Vibrant Communities and Greener Communities teams are there to support local residents and community groups, whether that be with community led initiatives such as community gardens and allotments, or through our garden equipment loan scheme.

For further information please contact the Vibrant Communities team at

Garden maintenance scheme

Support is also on hand for eligible residents through the Garden Maintenance Scheme which provides a grass and hedge cutting service several times a year for tenants who are unable to look after their gardens.

If you are struggling to pay the £30 all at once, please call 01563 554062 and we will assist you.

Financial advice

If you are facing a change in your circumstances or are just struggling with paying your bills, advice, information and support is available from the Financial Inclusion Team at EA Money.

Call 0800 389 7750 or email

Frequently asked questions

Why has the charge been introduced?

The way you dispose of your garden waste changed at the end of March 2021 following an extensive review of Cleaner Communities that was carried out to help make our approach to waste more sustainable in response to rising costs and changing legislation.

The collection of garden waste is not a statutory service, and local authorities are allowed to charge if they do offer it.

With a real need to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to increase rates of recycling, we hope that these changes will help with our commitment to improving the environment, one of our main renewal and recovery priorities in response to coronavirus COVID-19.

How do I register for a permit?

You can register and make payment either online via Our East Ayrshire customer account or over the phone.

The registration documentation will include a sticker to be placed on your bin(s) which details the address and unique property reference number (UPRN) of the registered property as well as the duration of the registration.

Once a permit has been purchased either online or by phone, a permit sticker will be issued which should be stuck to your garden waste bin using the instructions provided. Please ensure the new permit is clearly displayed and, if possible, place it on top of the old permit.

Please note that the sticker does not need to be on your bin for it to be collected (the sticker can take up to 21 days to arrive) - our crews will have the relevant permit information. 

I don't have access to a PC, laptop or mobile phone so how can I sign up for my Garden Waste Permit?

You can call 01563 554400, option 6 and speak to Greener Communities staff who will be able to order and process your permit.

Will I be issued a physical permit?

Once your application and payment have been verified, it will take up to 21 days for your permit to be issued via post.

You should follow the simple instructions within the pack to attach the permit to your bin. Please wait the full 21 days to receive this before making contact with us.

I haven't received my permit but I have paid for it. Can I still put my bin out for collection?

Permits can take up to 21 days to arrive so we would recommend you purchase this well in advance of your next collection date.

If you have received confirmation that your permit request and payment have been processed and your bin is due for collection before you receive this, you can still present it for collection.

When did the change start?

The charge came into effect from the end of March 2021. You can register for your permit online or by calling 01563 554400 option 6.

The first collections in the four-weekly cycle will commence on 27 February 2023.

View your recycling calendar for your individual collection date.

How much is the charge?

£30 per year, per bin.

How many collections will I get for that payment?

The £30 payment entitles residents to four-weekly collections from March to November this year.  View your recycling calendar.

How will the payment be charged and collected?

You will be asked to make an annual payment either online or by telephone.

We have no plans to introduce rolling year charging, and residents will be required to pay the annual charge for the full year regardless of when they join the service.

What will happen with charging for the following year?

Registered households will be advised of the need to re-register well in advance of the new billing period and will be asked to follow the same procedures as before in order to maintain their registration of the service and receive a new bin sticker.

Please ensure that your details are up to date on your customer account and that you have provided an email address.

What happens if I sign up for less than the full year?

Residents are encouraged to have registered for the service before the start of collections to ensure that they receive the maximum number of collections throughout the year.

Residents who sign up for the service after collections start will have to pay the full annual charge but will only receive collections once payment has been made and based on the next four weekly collection date for that property.

Are there any exemptions to the charges?

All residents, regardless of age or ability, will be required to pay the charge if they wish to use the garden waste collection service.

What if I have a 140 litre garden waste bin?

The cost is still £30 per bin regardless of size, however we can exchange the smaller 140 litre for a 240 litre brown bin.

Will the frequency of my collections change?

The service will continue to operate every four weeks throughout the year from March to November.

Collection dates will be advertised on this website and displayed on your recycling calendar.

Will this not result in more fly tipping?

A number of councils across the country have introduced this charge in recent years and found no evidence to suggest that fly tipping of green waste has increased as a result.

The disposal of garden waste is the householder’s responsibility and residents can continue to dispose of this free of charge at any of our  recycling centres.

The Corporate Enforcement Unit tackle fly tipping incidents which have been on the rise during the pandemic. A strong line will be taken against any offenders who choose to fly tip waste or drop litter.

We are grateful to all of the local residents who have been working with our Greener Communities team to help keep East Ayrshire beautiful and want to encourage everyone to do their bit to stop environmental crime.

Is the council allowed to introduce this charge?

Yes. The Controlled Waste Regulations 1992 (Schedule 2) specify garden waste as a type of household waste for which a charge for collection may be applied. Also, garden waste is not one of the specified materials in the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 which local authorities are required to collect for recycling.

Over 40% of councils in the UK charge for a garden waste collection and some have stopped the service altogether.

What options are available to residents who don't wish to pay for garden waste collections?

The disposal of garden waste is the householder’s responsibility. Although there is no obligation to make use of the chargeable service, residents can choose to bring garden waste to our  recycling centres at Western Road, Kilmarnock or Garlaff, near Cumnock where it can be disposed of free of charge. Please remember to book an appointment in advance to visit the recycling centres. 

Another way to dispose of garden waste is to compost at home. Find out more about getting started with composting.

Visit Zero Waste Scotland's website for tips on home composting with garden waste.

If you pay a private contractor to undertake gardening work, you can request that they remove the garden waste. Please be aware that this may incur a charge.

Please note that fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste (including garden waste) and if found doing this, you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £200, or even taken to court for fines of up to £40,000 or imprisonment.

It is also an offense to dispose of domestic waste in a way likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. This would include the burning of waste that is likely to create excessive smoke or noxious fumes. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, smoke from the burning of domestic/household waste must not cause a nuisance to neighbouring properties and affect their enjoyment of their property.

How will this scheme affect the Council’s current recycling levels and future targets?

We are confident that with the advice and information provided to residents about the importance of recycling all of their waste, and the options available to those who choose not to pay the charge, the recycling levels will continue to rise.

What can I recycle in my garden waste bin?

You can recycle:

  • grass cuttings
  • leaves and bark
  • flowers
  • hedge trimmings and prunings
  • weeds
  • twigs and small branches – cut into lengths to fit
  • cut flowers
  • potted plants and herbs (minus the pot)
  • windfall fruit
  • sawdust

Can garden waste be placed in the general waste bin?

Garden waste should not be placed inside the general waste bin or presented as side waste but instead disposed of either via the garden waste bin  (with the appropriate permit) or free of charge at the nearest  Recycling Centre.

How will the Council identify residents who have paid for garden waste collections from those who haven’t?

Residents who have paid will be issued with a bin sticker which details the address and Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) for the property, as well as the charging period, for example, March to November.

Collection crews will then only empty bins which have this valid sticker clearly displayed, ensuring that the sticker details correspond to the address of the property and that the address is listed on their collection round.

Is this cost not included within the council tax?

Services such as the collection and disposal of domestic waste are available to all households and are therefore funded from the Council's General Fund. The services provided from this budget are largely funded by government grants and council tax.

Council tax funds a small proportion of the overall General Fund budget and the charge paid is not directly attributable to specific services or activities.

Garden waste is not one of the specified materials in the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 which local authorities are required to collect for recycling.

What happens if I move house?

If you move house, you can take your permit with you to your new address as long as it is within East Ayrshire. You will be asked to remove the permit sticker from the bin, inform us that you’re moving and provide us with your new address. The permit will then be re-issued to your new address with the old address being removed from the system.

Please contact us by emailing

Can I share a permit with my neighbour?

Households that currently share a bin for their garden waste, for example flatted properties, can continue to do this if one resident applies for the permit.

Can I participate in the garden waste collection service if I have an assisted collection?

If you are currently registered to receive an assisted collection for a garden waste bin and would like to participate in the garden waste service, then you will need to buy a garden waste permit.

If you currently receive an assisted collection for your bins, but don’t have a garden waste bin and would like to participate in the garden waste collection service, then you will need to order a garden waste bin via or by calling 01563 554400 option 6.

I’ve tried to apply for a permit but my address is not recognised?

Enter the postcode and search for your address. Unless your address can’t be found using the postcode search you should not manually enter this as the system is sensitive to what is manually entered. The address may not therefore appear exactly as you have typed it.

If you continue to have problems with the address recognition, please contact our Customer Contact Centre on 01563 554400 option 6.

What happens if I require more than one garden waste bin?

If you require more than one garden waste bin then the charge is still £30 per bin and so you will be charged for the number of bins required. A sticker for each bin will be delivered to you to attach to each bin.

Is there a limit to the amount of brown bins per property?

There is no limit to the amount of bins per property but each bin will only be emptied if a permit has been purchased per bin.

I have a garden waste bin but the system inaccurately says that I’m not on a garden waste route?

If you already have a garden waste bin, but the system will not allow you to buy a permit because it believes that you are not on a garden waste route, please email us at or call 01563 554400 option 6 with details of your address.

We will endeavour to update the system so that you are able to buy a garden waste permit.

I haven’t received my permit and it’s been more than 21 days since I ordered it?

If it has been more than 21 days since you ordered your permit and you received the email confirmation but have still not received the permit through the post, please request a replacement permit via or by calling 01563 554400 option 6.

What happens if I have paid for a permit and my garden waste bin collection is missed?

No refunds or part refunds will be given for missed collections. Missed collections will be dealt with as per our Customer Charter.

Collection errors or other conditions beyond our control can result in service disruption or missed collections. In such circumstances we will aim to return to empty your bin within 48 hours from the original collection date, subject to the householder contacting the Council via or by calling 01563 554400 option 6.

The householder should leave their wheeled bin out at the kerbside for 48 hours after the time of normal collection and we will try to return and empty the bin. If wheeled bins are not collected within this time, householders are advised to please return the bin(s) to their regular storage area and put them back out on the next scheduled collection day for uplift, conditions permitting.

If the contents of wheeled bins are not uplifted due to waste being tightly lodged or frozen, the contents will not be collected until the next scheduled collection day. The householder must ensure that the waste is freed or dislodged before putting out again.

Can I cancel a permit?

Once purchased, permits cannot be cancelled.

What happens to collections over the festive period?

Garden waste collections stop in November this year, however if you wish to check changes to your other collections, you can view, download or print your recycling calendar online.

Details of any changes to the festive uplift schedule will also feature on our website and social media channels.

What will happen to bins that contain garden waste presented without a permit?

Garden waste bins which contain garden waste but do not display a garden waste permit will not be emptied. Alternatively, the householder can buy a Garden Waste Permit which, once displayed on the bin, will enable it to be emptied.

How will I stop residents who have not paid for the service placing garden waste in my bin?

Householders are responsible for the waste and recycling that is contained in their bins and will be required to make arrangements to remove any contamination identified. Please store your bin securely between collections.

If you know that someone is disposing of their garden waste in your bin, you are encouraged to discuss the issue directly with them. However, if you do not feel comfortable advising them not to use your bin then you can contact us for further advice via

I only use my garden waste bin for clearing up the Council’s leaves/recycling the Council’s grass cuttings?

Please note that leaves can be bagged up (in black sacks with holes in) to make leaf mould for the garden for next year. Similarly, grass cuttings can be left on the grass as a mulch, which feeds the lawn and especially helps the lawn in times of drought.

Tree owners (such as the Council) are not required to clear fallen leaves from neighbouring properties. The responsibility sits with the persons onto whose property the leaves fall.

Please note that if fallen leaves are returned to the property where the tree is sited, this can technically be classified as fly-tipping. However, broken/trimmed branches and fallen fruit can legally be returned to the tree owner.

What happens if I present my garden waste bin containing the wrong material?

No materials, other than those specified by the Council, will be accepted in the garden waste bin. We reserve the right not to empty wheeled bins that are:

  • suspected of containing incorrect materials
  • of excessive weight
  • in a dangerous condition
  • detrimental to the health and safety of staff

It shall be solely for the Council to determine if any bin meets any of the above criteria.

Householders will be responsible for the waste and recycling that is contained within the bins and will be required to make arrangements to remove any contamination identified. If all contamination is removed, the wheeled bin will be emptied on the next scheduled collection day. Residents can request an uplift of contaminated garden waste bins by us, however this will be a chargeable service and needs to be requested via or by calling 01563 554400 option 6.

In the event that repeated contamination of wheeled recycling bins occurs, we reserve the right to withdraw the recycling service by giving immediate written notice and arranging removal of the garden waste bin(s).

No refunds will be available for any collections missed while the service has been withdrawn.

What happens if I have excess garden waste that does not fit in my bin?

Biodegradable bags can be purchased at a cost of £1 per bag (purchased in multiples of five), and these can be presented alongside your garden waste bin.

If you have branches (cut into four foot lengths and tied in manageable bundles), a biodegradable bag can be tied to them.

Biodegradable bags can only be purchased if you have a valid permit for your garden waste bin or bags. If you have purchased a permit and have additional waste due to hedge cuttings etc. at certain points of the year, then rather than buying another permit you can buy bio degradable bags that can be placed beside your permitted brown bin

For further information please email

Do people keep bins that they have purchased if they live in new development properties?

Brown bins that have previously been purchased by a householder (new build developments only) will remain their property.

Since 2018 any new planning applications received require the developer and not the householder to pay.

There is no charge for any replacement bins required.

Will the Council reimburse them for the bins if they choose not to pay for the garden waste collection service?

We will not reimburse for brown bins previously purchased – these will remain the property of the purchaser.

What if I am worried about money and the means to pay?

Support is on hand for eligible residents through the Garden Maintenance Scheme which provides a grass and hedge cutting service several times a year for tenants who are unable to look after their gardens.

If you are facing a change in your circumstances or are just struggling with paying your bills, advice, information and support is available from the Financial Inclusion team. Call 0800 389 7750 or email Additionally, please check out our Caring, Kind & Connected pages

What if I can’t have a bin and use biodegradable sacks because I live in a terraced house?

If you live in a property which cannot accommodate a wheeled bin (for example terraced house) you can still arrange to be included in the collection service.

Please contact us by emailing or calling 01563 554400 option 6 and we can arrange payment, registration and delivery of biodegradable bags.

Please do not apply for a permit online via this website.

My letter that came with my garden waste permit states that collections are February until December?

Although the letter states the permit is valid from 1 January 2023 until December 2023, collections will take place from March until November as per the four weekly scheduled collection cycle.

Contact Information

Cleaner Communities
Western Road Depot
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400