Ending the litter legacy

Action is being taken to clean up Scotland ahead of high-profile events in 2014.

9 Nov 12

A national litter strategy is being developed and signals a clear commitment from the Government to address Scotland’s litter issues.  It comes on the same day as 13 community groups, local authorities, businesses and landowners are awarded a total of £300,000 of funding to trial innovative ways to prevent littering in local communities.

The latest funding is part of investment totalling almost £1.8 million that Zero Waste Scotland has already made this year in work to prevent litter and increase recycling. This includes expansion of ‘recycle on the go’ facilities. In addition, Zero Waste Scotland funds clean-up and community action delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Its National Spring Clean has grown from 11,500 volunteers taking part in 2007 to almost 120,000 in 2012.

Scottish Environment Ministers will host a summit early in the New Year - bringing together organisations which have responsibilities for tackling litter - to consider the findings from Zero Waste Scotland’s research into why people continue to litter; the best ways to stop littering; its impact on councils and the wider economy.

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said:

“Litter continues to let Scotland down and it is essential this level of positive action is taken to rid our country of this unnecessary eyesore.  This is particularly important as we prepare to host world-renowned events, like the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“It’s staggering to think that on average almost 4 plastic bottles and 3 drinks cans can be found on every 100 metres of motorway and trunk roads alone in Scotland. The impacts of littering are far-reaching. It is bad for the environment, wildlife, and communities, and wastes resources which should be recycled. It also costs the taxpayer millions to clean it up. We need to change our attitude to litter and create a culture where it is viewed as completely unacceptable.”

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland added:

“It’s essential we change the way people view litter, and waste in general. The items we think of as ‘waste’ are valuable resources, and when recycled they can create economic benefit for Scotland.  Embedding this kind of thinking into a new strategy for litter in Scotland will create an approach different from anything that’s gone before.

“With this in mind, immediate clean-up measures will help remove unsightly blights spoiling Scotland’s communities.  But we must go further than clean-up measures alone - particularly because the value of the material is already lost.  Focussing on preventing litter in the first place is the only way we will make a lasting difference.

“Our research will help to ensure we invest in measures that will work.  And co-ordinating our efforts to educate, enforce, and carry out both litter prevention and clean-up initiatives both nationally and locally  is the only way we can hit the message home that littering must stop.

“Littering costs Scotland money, which could be invested elsewhere. Recycling turns valuable materials, like plastic bottles and cans, into valuable resources which can boost Scotland’s economy.  Scotland stands to be far better off if we all stop littering and recycle more.”

Notes For Editors

Related information

A breakdown of the £1.8 million invested by Zero Waste Scotland:

  • £300,000 Litter Innovation Fund
  • £75,000 Flytipping Fund
  • £500,000 Recycling on the Go fund
  • £900,000 Deposit Return Scheme / Reverse Vending pilots

Everyone has a responsibility to tidy their litter into a bin. People risk a fixed penalty of £50 if they are caught littering and the Scottish Government encourages councils and the police to use their existing powers to enforce that.

Find out more about Scottish Government action on litter and flytipping.

For further information about Zero Waste Scotland contact: 

Nicola McGovern, Communications Manager
Tel: 01786 433965
Mob: 07540 516156
E-mail:  nicola.mcgovern@zerowastescotland.org.uk

Chloe Bellany, Communications Executive,

Tel: 01786 433964
Mob: 07540 517127
E-mail: chloe.bellany@zerowastescotland.org.uk 

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