Residents in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area now have to book in advance before using household recycling centres.
Some recycling centres in Northern Ireland operated similar booking systems during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Ards and North Down is the first council to introduce it at all sites, on a permanent basis.
Bookings can be made online or by telephone, up to 30 minutes before an allocated time.
The council believes that by managing access there will be a reduction in queues at busy times, and an overall increase in recycling.
Some residents have complained that the booking system will deter users and lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
The council has said there is no evidence of this in parts of Great Britain, which already operate a similar scheme.
The new system is operating at recycling centres in Bangor, Holywood, Newtownards, Donaghadee, Ballygowan, Kircubbin, Millisle, Portaferry and Comber.
Access is restricted to householders in the council area, and personal details are checked before entry.
To book a slot online, residents must provide:
An email address
The type of waste being brought
BBC News correspondent Mark Simpson
The new system began operating on Monday at 08:00 BST, with no problems reported in the first few hours.
Council staff were not rigorously enforcing the new rules as there is a two-week adjustment period for the scheme.
Residents who turned up late for their allocated slot were still being allowed into recycling centres.
The biggest test will come at the weekend when centres are normally at their busiest.
A spokesperson for Ards and North Down Council said the move would help it achieve its environmental objectives and would increase recycling rates.
The council aims to have a recycling rate of 70% by 2030.
The spokesperson also said the move would "significantly reduce the cost" of disposing of waste by stopping commercial companies and people from outside the council area from using the centres.
In the other 10 council areas in Northern Ireland, each has their own arrangements:
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council - Photo ID and proof of address required
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council - No proof of residency required
Belfast City Council - Proof of residency not required. Residents using vans/light vehicles must book online
Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council - Proof of residency not required
Derry City and Strabane District Council - Booking is required at two of 11 sites
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council - Proof of address may be requested
Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council - Access is only for residents and proof of address may be required
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council - Proof of residency required
Mid Ulster District Council - Proof of residency may be required at Tullyvar, near Aughnacloy
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council - Proof of residency is not required but an online booking system is in place for large vehicle access
More details of the specific arrangements are on the council websites.