Resource Use

Scotland launches new anti-litter campaign

The Scottish Government has launched a new anti-littering campaign to highlight the ‘shame and embarrassment’ of being caught dropping rubbish.

The ‘Dirty Little Secret’ campaign, created by advertising agency Leith and produced by The Gate, is a tongue-in-cheek look at the anti-social nature of littering and warns viewers that being caught can result in an £80 fine.

Campaign details

Running as short films across cinema and TV, as well as online and on social media, the campaign features a range of characters – including ‘shocked mum’ Janiceand ‘outraged girl’ Nicole– who discuss their experiences of littering.

Alongside the videos, the campaign also involves a roadshow to raise awareness of the issues, which will run until mid-August. Visitors will be asked to go inside an interactive booth, have their photo taken and confess a ‘dirty little secret’, such as ‘I never do the dishes’, which will be uploaded to a virtual ‘Wall of shame’ on the campaign’s website. Those that have ‘confessed’ can then enter a competition to win two annual passes to cinema chain Cineworld.

Those attending the roadshows could also receive a 'keep it in your trousers' keyring (one of the messages of the campaign) and iPhone cases with the Dirty Little Secret logo.

‘Playing on the “fear factor” of being caught in the act’

Katherine Goodwin, Head of Greener Marketing at the Scottish Government, said: "As a nation, we drop 250 million visible bits litter a year, and one in five Scots admit to littering. Food and drink packaging is highly visible and among those who admit to littering, it makes up a fifth of all items they drop. Our campaign drives home that littering is embarrassing; many people drop litter even though they know it’s wrong. They think that nobody has noticed and it’s not something that people talk about openly – it’s their ‘dirty little secret’.”

Writing in a blog on ZWS’s website, Director Iain Gulland commented: ‘The Scottish Government’s new marketing campaign… with its eye-catching ‘Dirty Little Secrets’ concept, certainly ticks the ‘fresh thinking’ box. The campaign is sure to capture the attention of the public and get people talking, but what’s particularly great about it for me is that it considers litter from a different angle, and encourages the viewer to do so too.

‘Litter isn’t just about crisp packets and bottles blighting our pavements and parks. It’s also about the waste of money and resources, both in terms of the cost of clean-up and the loss of value to the economy… We are absolutely clear that litter has no place in a zero waste society, and we now have the right policy drivers, strategy, and resources in place to fundamentally address this issue.’

Towards a Litter-Free Scotland

The campaign forms part of the delivery of the Scottish Government’s national litter strategy, Towards a Litter-Free Scotland, which was launched last month by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment and supported by Zero Waste Scotland.

It follows on from the news that more than half of the respondents to a survey on litter in Scotland admitted to dropping litter and that the majority of people (44 per cent) think ‘a major education and awareness drive’, rather than enforcement, is the best way to tackle litter.

Three new programmes of funding were also launched earlier this month to ‘help prevent and tackle the impact of litter and flytipping across Scotland’.

Find out more about the Dirty Little Secret campaign.