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Let’s get Scotland’s litter in the bag with socially distant litter picks

From local streets to sandy beaches, Scots are being encouraged to get litter in the bag with litter picks in their area.

25 Sep 20

Zero Waste Scotland is supporting Keep Scotland Beautiful and Marine Conservation Society with funding to provide individuals, couples, families and small groups (in-line with Scottish Government outdoors advice) with litter-picking and survey kits to deal with littering and help keep Scotland stunning.

Designed for small groups and with social distancing in mind, the kits have everything required to tackle wrappers, packets and anything else strewn near areas people live or like to spend time in.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: 

“Whether it has been our local streets, parks, woodland, countryside or coastline, recent months have highlighted how valuable our environment is to so many of us and why it needs to be kept that way. 

“The work of Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Marine Conservation Society in reducing litter is hugely important for us as individuals enjoying where we are and for the wellbeing of wildlife. It is a shame that these projects have to take place and a small number continue to drop litter. We urge people to get involved and help to keep the areas they hold dear clean and precious.”

The funding will help to provide additional clean up kits, including via community-based hubs, survey kits, plus online support and guidance from Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Marine Conservation Society on how to carry these out safely. In addition, they’ll be sharing the information that results from the project.

Natural Environment Minister, Mairi Gougeon said: 

“Our natural environment is vital to allow biodiversity to thrive and flourish. Litter is harmful to wildlife and the marine environment so these kits from Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Marine Conservation Society will help keep our communities litter free and protect our natural world. 

“Everyone needs to take responsibility for protecting our environment. Littering and damage to our natural surroundings is completely unacceptable and there is no place for this type of anti-social behaviour anywhere in Scotland.

“I would like to give my sincere thanks to all those who volunteer to collect rubbish from our beaches, countryside and green spaces. The litter data collected by clean-ups is vitally important to help develop long-term solutions to litter.”

Tara Proud, Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager at the Marine Conservation Society: 
“Did you hear Sir David Attenborough’s urgent and heartfelt call to action last week? One way that you can help protect Scotland’s stunning coastlines and vulnerable sea life is through litter picking and surveying. When you take part in Beachwatch, the data you collect helps us to push for a ‘green recovery’ with policies which put environmental issues at the forefront.

Get a small group of friends and family together for your own beach clean. If you can’t get to the coast, then you can still help by cleaning your local patch because 80% of litter on the UK’s beaches comes from inland, travelling from our parks, rivers and streets.”

Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful Barry Fisher welcomed the funding announcement.  He said: “Our polling* shows that 29% believe that the amount of litter has got worse over the lockdown period, but we know that people across the country want to take action to change that.  This funding will allow us to triple the number of Clean Up Scotland community litter picking hubs we support across Scotland, strengthening the capacity of communities to survey and take action on litter in their own neighbourhoods.”

The litter picks follow on from the ‘Scotland is Stunning – Let’s Keep It That Way’ campaign delivered by Zero Waste Scotland, together with Keep Scotland Beautiful and the Scottish Government, during July and August. The project highlighted the country’s natural beauty and wildlife and urged visitors not to spoil it by littering when they’re enjoying the delights of our coast, countryside and campsites.

The partnership runs until 8 November 2020 and details of how to access the kits will be promoted on the Keep Scotland Beautiful and Marine Conservation Society websites. There are no time limits for taking part in the clean ups.   



Notes For Editors

About Zero Waste Scotland


Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change.  

Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy. 

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit our website or follow @scotgovESIF.


About Keep Scotland Beautiful 

Keep Scotland Beautiful is your charity for Scotland’s environment.  We work with you to help combat climate change, reduce litter and waste, and protect and enhance the places we care for.  We support the ambitions of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Find out more at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org 

*Polling undertaken by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research using the Scotpulse online panel, on behalf of Keep Scotland Beautiful.www.mcsuk.org  



About The Marine Conservation Society 

The Marine Conservation Society campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, and protection of marine life. Through education, community involvement and collaboration, MCS raises awareness of the many threats that face our seas and promotes individual, industry and government action to protect the marine environment. MCS provides information and guidance on many aspects of marine conservation and produces the Good Fish Guide as well as involving thousands of volunteers in projects and surveys such as MCS Beachwatch. 

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