Keeping our streets and public spaces tidy is as much about thinking before you throw away your waste, as it is about disposing of it responsibly. And that’s where you come in. By making small changes to your own habits and practices, you can help keep Scotland litter free. For example, you might think about taking a drink with you when you leave home rather than leaving a bottle on the bench; use a reusable coffee cup so that you don’t have to throw away plastic cups; take an extra care with wrappers and other rubbish so that there’s no accidental littering; or simply remember to put your rubbish in the bin whenever possible. These small actions can have a big impact on reducing littering, so take a look at our top 10 tips for keeping Scotland litter free:



Don’t be a litter lout

Let’s start at the very beginning – with the basics of littering and how you can avoid being a litter lout. Littering is simply the act of discarding rubbish in an irresponsible, careless way. This means that litter can include everything from cigarette butts to sweet wrappers, broken glass to food. And while litter can sometimes be spotted and picked up quickly, it also has a habit of building up over time, so it’s important to think about how we can prevent litter building up in the first place.


Remember to put your rubbish in the bin

Keeping Scotland litter free doesn’t just mean cutting down on littering: it also means making sure that what you do throw away ends up in the bin. This means ensuring that rubbish ends up in the right place: – Packaging should be in the packaging bin (blue bin on the street). Remember that plastic and paper go in different bins! – Food waste, including peelings, should go in your green bin, as should garden waste. Keep all other rubbish separate, as this will help keep your bin clean and odour free, and make sure that it’s properly closed.


Cut down on waste

Part of keeping Scotland litter free means reducing the amount of waste that you generate in the first place – which means considering how you can reduce your own waste. This might include bringing your own reusable shopping bags when you visit the shops, bringing reusable containers to take-out cafes, or even using a re-usable coffee cup. By reducing the amount of waste you produce, you not only help keep Scotland litter free, but you can also save money on bin collections and save the environment at the same time.


Take your own travel mug

If you’re a regular coffee shop customer, you might be tempted to leave a disposable cup behind when you’re finished. But this can add to the amount of litter on the streets and in the environment. If you use a disposable cup each day, you’ll end up throwing away around 1,000 disposable cups over the course of a year. And while they don’t biodegrade, they do end up in landfill or the environment where they can cause harm. Putting your own travel mug at the ready next time you visit the coffee shop can help cut down on littering.


Swap disposable items for reusables

Some items, like single-use coffee cups, are bad for both the environment and Scotland’s litter levels. But other items, such as plastic bags, are less obvious. And while many supermarkets now charge for plastic bags, this can be a sneaky way for companies to profit from the environment without actually reducing the amount of plastic bags in circulation. Instead of swapping items for reusables, many supermarkets could simply be profiting from their customers’ desire to keep Scotland litter free.


Think before you throw something away

Sometimes, you may struggle to know what to do with your waste. Other times, you may know exactly what to do with it, but be faced with a dilemma about where to put it. In either case, it’s important to think about where you’re going to put your waste, and how it will affect Scotland’s litter levels. You should always make sure that you properly dispose of your waste, including removing lids and containers, and bagging up food waste, garden waste, and anything else that might attract pests or cause odour.


Join Together to Keep Scotland Beautiful!

We mentioned at the beginning of this article that keeping Scotland litter free is about more than just cutting down on littering. You can also help keep Scotland litter free by planting native species, collecting litter and rubbish, and volunteering for a local litter-picking group. If you want to keep Scotland litter free, there are a number of things you can do. You can also take part in Scotland’s public litter survey to make sure that your area is being kept clean.


By the way, this is what litter looks like…

We’ve talked a lot about the dangers of littering and how you can prevent it – but what does litter look like? If you’re interested in keeping Scotland litter free, you can spot the signs of littering simply by keeping your eyes peeled. Simply keeping an eye out for litter will help you to spot it before it becomes a problem. And that way, we can all help keep Scotland litter free. And if you want to get involved with keeping Scotland litter free, you can sign up to Scotland’s litter survey here:

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