May 2015

Zero Waste Scotland publishes Eunomia Community Litter Research

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A study commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland has highlighted the merits of different approaches to the prevention of litter through community engagement.

Eunomia undertook the study to inform the implementation of Scotland’s national litter strategy. The report, entitled Litter Prevention Community Engagement: Options Paper reviews the potential for a range of community-level and community-led measures to prevent litter. It study draws upon existing case studies to consider a number of actions including:

  • Maximising the litter prevention potential of litter picks;
  • Motivating behaviour change through a range of incentives;
  • Applying the power of citizen science to engage participants and communicate results;
  • Harnessing the ‘hyper-local’ expertise of groups through community led campaigns; and
  • Building the capacity for litter prevention into community improvement projects, such as community greening, street improvements and wider community building activities.

The report is the latest in a growing body of Eunomia research into litter, its impacts and the steps required to tackle it. Other recently completed studies include:

George Cole, Project Manager, commented:

We are excited by the potential for a joined-up approach found in this research. It is clear that litter is an important topic to local communities and one where prevention is key. Communities are responding to this issue in increasingly creative ways, but we have learned that with support and direction litter prevention benefits can be further enhanced, even in projects that are designed to address other issues. There is an opportunity here for NGOs and government of all levels to support communities and harness their enthusiasm and skills to improve the local environment for the benefit of us all.”

Dr Chris Sherrington, Project Director, said:

“What’s particularly encouraging from this study is the evidence on how community groups, set up to tackle litter in the first instance, can often subsequently take on a wider range of issues. As well as improving local environmental quality, such initiatives can foster a greater sense of community and civic pride, and the actions noted in the report should help guide the most effective use of resources in the support of such activities.”