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Voluntary litter picking

Groups arranging litter picks within North Ayrshire can request litter pickers and bags from North Ayrshire Council.

Request litter pickers and bags

Collecting litter picking bags

Please note: We don't collect bags or litter picked from private land.

When you have completed a group litter pick let us know:

  • the date and time of your litter pick
  • how many bags are ready to collected
  • details of any other items that you have left beside the bags
  • the location of the bags

Litter picking bags for collection

Adopt-a-Spot initiative

Our Adopt-a-Spot initiative is a voluntary litter picking scheme. It aims to enable and empower our communities to work with us to tackle litter issues in an area of your choosing.

Work already carried out by volunteer litter pickers is valued greatly by the council.

The scheme, while open to individuals, is primarily aimed at new or existing groups (eg friends, businesses, neighbours, schools). It offers the opportunity to develop a coordinated approach to litter picking, along with assistance and input from Streetscene Officers.

How it works

The chosen spot would be in a mutually agreeable area of open space within council ownership. Suitable spots could be:

  • streets
  • parks
  • beaches
  • paths
  • frontage of a business (especially hot food takeaway businesses)
  • routes to local schools

Benefits of Adopt-a-Spot

This approach offers volunteers help and guidance by establishing a relationship with a Streetscene Officer, who can:

  • arrange the supply of litter picking equipment (including additional equipment when required)
  • facilitate the most suitable method for disposal of items
  • provide guidance on safety aspects of litter picking
  • respond to volunteer requests and queries regarding litter issues
  • assist with promoting the work carried out by the volunteers

Get involved

Volunteer for Adopt-a-Spot

Once the application form has been received, a Streetscene Officer will contact you to:

  • confirm your litter picking equipment requirements
  • establish what level of input you would like from the Council Officer
  • answer any questions your group may have

Important information for all volunteers: the volunteer undertakes all volunteering at their own risk.

You will be provided with a Guidance Leaflet for volunteering if you decide to carry out any volunteering activity to support North Ayrshire Council's Streetscene service.

General Safety Advice

It is important to follow the guidance below if you undertake any litter picking activities:

  • Be vigilant at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a good level of risk assessment
  • Do not confront anyone littering, and please do not try and deal with aggressive behaviour or difficult people
  • Be aware of uneven surfaces including cracked slabs / footpaths, steps and ramps
  • Be aware of tree roots and stumps, shrub roots and low-level branches
  • Do not pick litter from areas that involve climbing steep bankings, grass verges etc
  • Be aware of dangerous plants (e.g. giant hogweed) and possible adverse reactions
  • Do not touch or remove items which may be hazardous such as unidentified canisters or drums, poisons, or containers where the contents are unknown
  • Please consider carrying a basic first aid kit that includes hand sanitiser
  • As weather conditions can change quickly, please check the weather forecast and do not litter pick in bad weather such as high winds, when visibility is poor, or it is icy under foot

Please note the following recommendations to minimise the risk of accidents or injury:

  • When litter picking on pavements, we advise that volunteers restrict their activities to roads with a maximum speed limit of 30mph, and do not pick litter from verges
  • Please do not litter pick on roundabouts
  • Do not try to move heavy items
  • Broken glass can be reported to North Ayrshire Council, however if a volunteer wishes to collect this, please remove using a litter picker or a brush and shovel, avoiding contact by hand, and dispose of in a sturdy container
  • When litter picking near a water course or water body, only pick up litter from a path. Keep at least 5 metres away from water and do not work near steep/slippery banks, or deep, fast flowing water
  • Ensure that litter to be collected by the Council is stored safely and does not cause obstruction

Other volunteering activities 

We have volunteering opportunities for:

  • gardening
  • landscaping
  • bench painting
  • fence painting
  • planting bulbs and seeds to create wildflower meadows
  • carrying out training or mentoring activities

Ask about volunteering