Scotland to publish new statutory litter guidance

The Scottish government will introduce new statutory litter guidance aiming to reduce the amount of resources being spent on litter clearing.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham signalled her commitment to revising the Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse (COPLAR) while visiting Edinburgh City Council’s innovative ‘smart bin’ scheme.

The scheme, which has recently secured further funding, uses smart technology to ensure collection crews always empty bins before they reach capacity and is part of efforts to minimise the amount of litter dropped in the capital. It is reported that Scotland spends over £1 million every single week tackling litter.

Cunningham said: “The aim of our national litter strategy Towards a Litter-free Scotland is to drive a fundamental change in how councils and others deal with the litter problem. It’s about refocusing efforts on stopping littering behaviour in the first place, because prevention is always better than cure.

“We will place updated guidance before the Scottish Parliament in the coming months, which will broaden the measures that councils and others can take to reduce litter and improve local environmental quality.

“I welcome the leadership being shown by councils like Edinburgh in introducing innovative measures like smart bins which help prevent litter from overflowing. Sharing evidence of what works between councils and others involved in reducing litter will be key to achieving our litter prevention aims.”

The City of Edinburgh’s councillor Lesley Hinds added: “Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own rubbish has been key to our own actions to tackle the issue of litter in Edinburgh, so we recognise the importance of prevention. The ongoing Our Edinburgh campaign has aimed to instil pride in the local environment amongst the public and has proven a success, with an increase in the amount of litter binned in the areas concerned.

“The introduction of more than 300 bin sensors has also been central to these efforts, enabling the council to focus resources on problem areas, and has resulted in more bin collections during the trial. We have now secured funding through the European Regional Development Fund to roll the scheme out further across the city to benefit even more communities. This is being supported as part of a collaborative programme involving the Scottish Cities Alliance, which is a partnership of Scotland’s 7 Cities and the Scottish government.”

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