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Clean Up Scotland campaign

Clean Up Scotland is a community engagement campaign run by Keep Scotland Beautiful which aspires to make Scotland the cleanest country in Europe

National supporters for Clean Up Scotland include politicians and government, small and large businesses, public bodies and charities. Organisations such as Young Scot, McDonald's, Historic Scotland, BT, Scottish Water, SSE, Wrigley, The Scottish Government and all 32 local authorities have committed to supporting the campaign.

Clean Up Scotland has two key, overlapping elements: an explicit anti-litter focus (largely facilitated by community clean ups) though this also targets some other anti-social behaviours; and a stewardship element (focused on lasting physical improvements, such as greening ‘uncared for’ spaces).

Both elements of the campaign should generate improved local environmental quality in the short term. It is intended that in the long term these changes are maintained either by ongoing activity, or changed behaviour. 

The campaign has benefited from more than £500,000 of funding from Zero Waste Scotland to support delivery of the campaign. In 2014, we undertook an evaluation of the campaign to assess its impact with regard to the funding provided.

The evaluation report concluded that:

  • In the 18 months to the end of September 2014, Clean Up Scotland delivered 5,839 clean ups with 448,234 participants 
  • In 2013/14 an estimated 2,500 tonnes of waste was uplifted, though confidence in weight estimates for the campaign is low.  The true impact of the campaign comes not from the weight of uplifts but from improvement to the local environment – and this tonnage would represent millions, if not tens of millions, of items
  • Over-focusing on these headline numbers may miss the true value of the campaign activity. Quality as well as quantity is important. These events are as diverse as the communities they take place in. Their scale, context and impact is highly variable. As with all grassroots activity, it is likely their long term legacy may vary too. This poses a monitoring and measurement challenge, and there is limited evidence on the long term legacy impacts of the campaign. We believe that gathering improved evidence of legacy benefits in future would help target activity to where it can make the biggest impacts
  • The value of partner support for the campaign can’t all be readily quantified. However, adult volunteer time alone could be conservatively valued at over £500,000 a year, while the coverage obtained by the campaign relating to anti-litter activity alone is estimated by Keep Scotland Beautiful’s media monitoring agency to be worth over £600,000 a year. We believe there are also a wide range of other benefits that are harder to quantify, but which are tangible nonetheless. This includes the value of promotional activity undertaken by partners, and the engagement opportunity presented by the clean up activity itself

The additionality of the campaign – the extent to which activity would not have happened without it – is hard to quantify. However, we believe it is highly likely that the centralised brand, organisation, motivation, and management provided by the campaign mean more activity is undertaken, and some activity that would have been undertaken anyway is more effective.

Keep Scotland Beautiful continues to develop and support community groups around Scotland through the provision of Clean Up Kits, posters, and other materials to help spread the message that a litter free environment is beneficial for well-being, community spirit and environmental sustainability.  

Our research into how community organisations can best undertake activity which leads to the prevention of litter has also been used by Keep Scotland Beautiful to develop a ‘Litter Pick Plus’ toolkit.


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