Litter strategy - five years on: review

Review of our national litter strategy "Towards a litter free Scotland: a strategic approach to higher quality local environments,” published in 2014.

1. Introduction

In June 2014, the Scottish Government published the country's first National Litter Strategy, entitled 'Towards A Litter-Free Scotland: A Strategic Approach to Higher Quality Local Environments'. The five-year strategy encourages delivery partners across Scotland to work together to prevent litter and flytipping by increasing public awareness of personal responsibility through key activities. Actions were divided into the following three themes.

  • Information - improving sources, consistency and nature of messages.

Helping people to understand why litter and flytipping is a problem and what is expected of them.

  • Infrastructure - improving facilities and services to reduce litter and promote recycling.

Providing people with alternative options for their waste and the means to take action individually and in collaboration.

  • Enforcement - strengthening the deterrent effect of enforcement.

Reminding people that littering and flytipping are criminal offences and committing them carries a consequence.

Within these three themes, activity was further divided into 12 separate interventions:

  • Information
    • Communication
    • Education
    • Local community action
  • Infrastructure
    • Opportunities for recycling
    • Product design
    • Service design
    • Guidance review
    • Future funding & support
    • Research & monitoring
    • Flytipping
  • Enforcement
    • Strengthening the enforcement system
    • Enforcement staff training

The rationale of this approach was based on the Individual, Social and Material (ISM) model, which states that interventions for behaviour change should take account of influences across multiple contexts: the individual, the social and the material, together with an in-depth evidence and research programme, and stakeholder engagement.

The five intended outcomes of the Strategy's interventions were:

  • Greater personal responsibility: people litter less because they are clear what is expected of them and are motivated to take their waste home, use a bin, or recycle it.
  • Improved environmental quality: a shift in culture to value local environmental quality more highly. Human and animal welfare is better protected and local communities are attractive places in which to live, work and invest.
  • Economic potential: the value of resources is realised through action and innovation, to reduce, reuse and recycle material currently littered or flytipped.
  • Coordination: Organisations are better equipped to provide customers and staff with consistent messages, facilities and efficient services.
  • Value for money: the cost effectiveness of public services is improved by reducing the scale of clear up required, at the same time as reducing the negative costs of litter and flytipping on wider society.

The purpose of this report is to provide a summary of the process and results of the review, which took place in 2019. The review considered the actions which had been taken in the five years since the strategy, the effectiveness of the overall strategy and the different elements contained within it.



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