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Getting Smart to Prevent Litter

Anyone with a stake in tackling litter can get access to the latest advice and research from home and abroad today (Tuesday 30th May) as Zero Waste Scotland launches its brand new Litter Knowledge Network.

30 May 17

The comprehensive online resource brings together all the latest advice, expertise and support on litter prevention for the first time in Scotland, including the organisation’s in-depth research on scale, impact and attitudes to the problem. The latest expert material and good practice advice on litter prevention is presented in an accessible and engaging way – such as the fact that Scotland collects 15,000 tonnes of litter – or about 50 Kelpies worth – every year.

Resources, from across Scotland and further afield, comprise communications, cases studies of successful campaigns and projects at home and abroad, and specialist advice covering specific litter challenges like dealing with cigarette butts, how to prevent coffee cup litter; tackling takeaway litter and tips on running community campaigns.

There are downloadable toolkits for stakeholder in easy-to-use format, to help specific local campaigns aimed at persuading the public not to drop litter.

The resource efficiency body also called on all those with a role in tackling littering in Scotland – such as local authorities, businesses, community groups and landowners – to contribute to the network with information, ideas, and good practice.

The launch builds on work rolled out over the last three years, including higher penalties for littering and the introduction of a successful carrier bag charge by the Scottish Government.

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a strong evidence base on the impacts of and attitudes to littering in Scotland which have been used to help inform litter and flytipping prevention initiatives.

Facts and figures displayed on the new network revealed that:

  • 475 items are dropped every minute in Scotland

  • Half of all littered items – or £1.2m worth – could have been recycled

  • Litter in the community can reduce the value of your home

  • 2.5 billion single-use coffee cups are given out in the UK every year

  • 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“We want to protect and preserve the beauty of Scotland for all who live and visit here.

“The Scottish Government has made prevention of litter and flytipping the cornerstone of Scotland’s national litter strategy, Towards a Litter-Free Scotland, and this new resource should be valuable to all stakeholders in helping tackle the problem.

“I encourage all those with a role in tackling litter to visit the Zero Waste Scotland website, and engage with the network where they can reap the benefits of the expertise and advice on offer.” 

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Our Litter Knowledge Network provides fantastic new tools to help stakeholders in Scotland take forward a preventative approach towards litter and flytipping. It includes great case studies on what works and what doesn’t – a really useful body of practical and well-tested work, backed up by evidence. This evidence shows that simply cleaning up litter after it’s been dropped is an endless task, as the issue still affects many of our communities and it’s costing Scotland over £1million a week. 

“Local authorities, businesses and landowners have a real opportunity now to adopt a different approach to litter, tailored to suit their own local circumstances – by focusing on preventative action which will save time and money. With the launch of our new Litter Knowledge Network, Zero Waste Scotland is there to help and support this work.

Carole Noble, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented:

“Keep Scotland Beautiful welcomes the launch of Zero Waste Scotland’s Litter Knowledge Network.  We have identified that, for the first time in ten years, Scotland’s local environmental quality is in decline. Carelessly discarded litter is a substantial part of that problem, but urgent action is also required to address growing problems with dog-fouling and graffiti. 

“In the past two months alone, more than 23,000 people have taken action to remove litter from their local communities - a positive step by people who care about their local environment. However, littering behaviour is an individual manifestation of the disregard of those who just don’t care about our parks, countryside, roadsides, rivers and lochs.

“If we are to turn the tide on this shocking decline, we need action to be prioritised. In that context, we welcome this initiative, and all efforts to bring about the significant behaviour change required to make Scotland litter free.”


Notes For Editors


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