Zero Waste Scotland launches litter poll

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), a waste reduction programme managed by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) on behalf of the Scottish Government, has launched an online poll to ‘gauge how Scottish people, communities and businesses feel about litter’. 

The poll follows on from a recent Litter Week of Action aimed at highlighting the problem of litter in Scotland, and coincides with the Scottish Government’s consultation on implementing a national litter strategy

According to ZWS, the poll aims to take a ‘snap shot’ of people’s views on litter while an animation, released alongside the poll, outlines the cost of litter to Scotland’s economy and environment. 

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Litter has a massive impact on Scotland’s landscapes, wildlife and our communities. At least 50 per cent of litter that is dropped each year could have been recycled. 

“We had a great response to our first Litter Week of Action last week. Now we want to capitalise on that heightened interest in the issues by taking part in our poll and considering responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation. Our poll is an easy way for individuals and businesses to tell us what bothers them most about litter, how they think littering should be tackled and how we can persuade litter bugs to bin their behaviour.” 

The poll will be live throughout the Scottish Government’s litter consultation period (which closes on 27 September) and results are expected to be made public in ‘late September’. 

Complete Scotland’s litter poll

Deposit scheme feasibility study 

Recycle and Reward

Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead with a Recycle and Reward machine.

In related news, Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that he is to look at the feasibility of a nation-wide deposit return scheme (DRS). This would build on from Scotland’s £900,000  ‘Recycle and Reward’ reverse vending pilot programme that launched earlier this year. 

According to ZWS, Lochhead was inspired by Sweden’s DRS which creates an incentive for consumers to return their containers to retailers or specific collection points, encouraging them to recycle more. Launched in 1984 for cans, and extended to plastic bottled in 1994, Sweden’s scheme reportedly achieves recycling rates of 85 per cent and has made a ‘huge contribution’ to tackling litter. 

ZWS has said it hopes that the introduction of the scheme could ‘help tackle the problem of plastic bottles and cans littering Scotland’s communities where on average four plastic bottles and three drinks cans can be found every 100 metres of Scotland’s motorways and trunk roads’.

Speaking of the scheme, Lochhead said: “The Deposit Return Scheme in Sweden is a great example of how a country has promoted the benefits of recycling into everyday life whilst also having a positive impact on litter. I was amazed at the cleanliness of the streets in Sweden and cannot recall seeing an item of litter throughout my trip.

“The scheme has also created new industries and investment in jobs and skills to process these valuable materials - something I want to see emulated for Scotland’s economy.” 

Adding that Scotland’s litter problem ‘could be turned into a resource’ and estimating that around £1.2 million of recyclable material is littered every year, Lochhead concluded: “We want to encourage more Scots to recycle and, in turn, help deal with our litter problem, so it is right that we reflect on how this model could work in Scotland.” 

Gulland added: “We very much welcome the news that the government wants to look at the feasibility of extending the deposit return scheme we’re running. Recycling is about keeping and reusing valuable materials and returning drinks containers is a simple step people could take to help make Scotland a zero waste society. It could also play a part in making our country litter-free.” 

Read more about deposit return schemes in Resource 71.