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Getting smart to prevent litter: New knowledge network launched in Scotland

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

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 seemingly 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 day
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.

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