Volunteer army springs into action to tackle litter blight

New fund to pilot innovative ways to prevent litter gets underway.

3 Jul 12

Around 120,000 Scots have lifted more than 1,100 tonnes of rubbish from the countryside in what’s thought to be the largest mobilisation of the Scottish general public since World War Two.

The National Spring Clean 2012, organised by Scotland’s charity for the environment, Keep Scotland Beautiful, took place during April and May and saw over 117,000 volunteers, including almost 76,000 children, take action to clear up litter left behind by others. Around 20,000 of the total included volunteers from the corporate sector. 

Building on the success of the national clean up campaign, Zero Waste Scotland today launches a new £250,000 fund to give community groups, as well as local authorities, businesses and landowners, the chance to trial innovative projects to prevent littering in the first place.

The annual National Spring Clean campaign sees a wide range of individuals and groups take part in a concerted effort to clean up the whole of Scotland by organising voluntary clean ups or litter picks.  Keep Scotland Beautiful provides group organisers with free clean up kits, and they are also able to call on additional assistance from their local council.

Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, Derek Robertson, said: “This has been a tremendous effort by many thousands of committed people to tackle the blight of litter throughout Scotland. 

“We estimate it is the largest mobilisation of the Scottish public since World War Two, and this shows that Scots are not prepared to put up with litter in their community and are willing to do something about it.

“The fact that so many children took part in helping protect their communities is reflective of the work we do through our Eco-Schools programme, and this encourages us to believe that the future of Scotland’s environment is in safe hands.”

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland said: “The overwhelming response to this year’s National Spring Clean indicates that Scottish communities are motivated to eradicate litter from needlessly spoiling their environment.  Our new fund aims to support communities to trial new ways to prevent littering in the first place.

“We welcome applications which will test new methods to address common litter problems, particularly those tackling litter left at roadsides, near secondary schools, or hotspots for convenience food and drink litter.  

“Initiatives should take a new approach to encouraging, educating, or enforcing litter prevention, and include measures of success.  As litter is a problem which affects all members of a community, we are also keen to encourage new partnerships between interest groups and inspire collaborative working.

“Our waste is a valuable resource, and recycling more holds significant potential to boost Scotland’s economy.  Littering prevents Scotland from capturing the value of this material and creates a pointless eyesore.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, Derek Robertson, added: “Scotland would be a much better place if litter did not exist.  Initiatives like the National Spring Clean, and through education and enforcement, help to ensure we can continue to live in a beautiful country, with clean cities, towns, villages and countryside.”

For more information about Zero Waste Scotland’s Litter Innovation Fund or to submit an application, visit www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/litterfund.  The fund will close on Friday 14th September 2012.

Notes For Editors

  • Keep Scotland Beautiful is the country’s leading charity for the environment.  It works across Scotland, from Shetland to the Scottish Borders, cleaning and greening up communities, schools and businesses, and has been doing so since 1970.  We work in partnership with all 32 of Scotland’s Local Authorities, 1,000+ community groups, 3,850 of Scotland’s primary and secondary schools, over 100 businesses and have empowered in excess of 200,000 individuals to assist in community action.  Keep Scotland Beautiful is a committed partner of Government and shares in the government’s vision for Scotland to be a cleaner, greener, safer and more sustainable country.  Further information can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org
  • Zero Waste Scotland, the lead supporter of the National Spring Clean campaign, is the programme created by the Scottish Government to support delivery of its Zero Waste plan. Zero Waste Scotland has been created to provide a one-stop-shop for support and advice to individuals, businesses and local authorities in order to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use natural resources more efficiently. It integrates the activities of WRAP Scotland, Waste Aware Scotland, Keep Scotland Tidy, Remade Scotland, Envirowise in Scotland, NISP in Scotland, and some programmes delivered by the Community Recycling Network for Scotland. 
  • Greggs supported National Spring Clean volunteers by providing cakes to events across the country.
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