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Evaluating the impact of litter interventions

Preventing litter and flytipping is the best way to tackle the negative impacts associated with “waste in the wrong place” and increase the opportunities to do something positive with these materials.

So the focus of activities and action should be on generating long term behaviour change, resulting in less litter being dropped. Unfortunately trying to identify which interventions are most successful in achieving this is difficult due to:

  • Litter being made up of lots of small items that are spread over a wide area and of amounts that vary significantly over time
  • A whole range of influences on behaviour, which may mean that even successful action may not have an impact that can be measured in certain ways

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try!

Monitoring provides increased confidence on the size of impacts, insight into why (or why not) something is working and has been demonstrated to help improved performance.

There is however no one-size fits all approach! There are a huge variety of different types and combination of actions that could be used, across a range of situations and at different scales.

In our paper “Challenges to consider in monitoring litter prevention”, Zero Waste Scotland are not providing a template to follow or the skills to robustly assess each activity. Instead the intention is to highlight the areas that should be considered regardless of what is being proposed, to allow the reader to ask informed questions where information is being presented to them and ensure these skills are available when designing new projects.

We are interested in hearing about new approaches to litter monitoring and continuing to improve this paper. If you have any feedback or would like to highlight a unique approach to litter monitoring then please email: litterandflytipping@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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