Young Scots Help Shift Attitudes on Littering in Scotland

Young people have lent their voices to the fight against litter in a bid to drive behaviour change across Scotland.

A new report compiled by a group of 16 school and university pupils provides a unique insight into young people’s views on litter.

The Generation Change report, made available by Young Scot and Zero Waste Scotland, shows fewer than 30% (27%) of those surveyed said they never litter – while nearly 60% (58%) admitted they litter accidently. A further 44% of the 650 youngsters who took part said the number and placement of bins has no effect on whether they litter or not.

The findings show the extent of the challenge when it comes to changing behaviour on litter in Scotland, and inform a number of recommendations from the young people involved on how their peer group can help tackle the issue.

Their ideas include introducing an app to show young people where the closest bins are, and making bins across Scotland more colourful and visible to encourage people to use them. Other ideas include public art projects to highlight the community impact of littering, and creating a national education campaign.

Shannon Goundry, a Generation Change member, said: “I’m incredibly passionate about protecting our environment and reducing the amount of littering in Scotland. It’s been great to work alongside talented, like-minded young people from other parts of Scotland and we’re really proud of the work presented in the report.”

David Barnes, Litter and Flytipping Programme Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Litter and flytipping are widely considered a blight on Scotland, and in order to tackle these problems effectively we need to make littering a socially unacceptable thing to do. It’s fantastic to see young people from across the country already demonstrating that change in mindset and informing research on this issue.

“Dealing with litter and flytipping costs over a million pounds of public money a week in Scotland, and that’s money that could be better spent on other priorities. Joined-up action across all areas of society – from Zero Waste Scotland’s work with councils, businesses and landowners to initiatives like this report – will help achieve our ambitions of a litter-free Scotland and benefit our landscape for good.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “The Generation Change group are passionate about making the world a greener place for everyone. With the help of young people we can tackle problems that affect us all and this report is packed full of ideas and we’re sure it will help inform changing attitudes towards litter in Scotland.”

To download a copy of the Generation Change report please click here.