Scotland Is Stunning, Let’s Keep It That Way is being spearheaded by Zero Waste Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful.
The aim is encourage everyone in Scotland to take pride in our outdoor spaces – from parks and green spaces to beaches, woodlands, lochs and national parks – by keeping them litter free.
The campaign calls on people to play their part in preventing litter by simply binning their rubbish or, if community bins are full, take it home with them.
Launched to help the Scottish tourism industry and businesses emerging from lockdown, it was also prompted by an increase in littering across the country.
Claire Munro, Zero Waste Scotland’s communication manager, explained: “During lockdown, we saw increased fly-tipping, with most local authorities in the country reporting issues.
“We took some measures to address that and the situation also started to improve as recycling centres opened again.
“However, as lockdown eased we started to see an increase in littering at green spaces and beauty spots all over Scotland.
“People who would usually go to the pub or a friend’s house were having parties in the great outdoors instead, leaving behind tents, camp chairs and disposable barbeques, as well as a pile of rubbish in their wake.
“Another issue with all the pubs and restaurants being closed was people buying takeaways and then leaving their litter behind.
“We felt there was a need to address this behaviour but wanted to do it in a positive way, tapping into people’s pride in their country.
“We can only enjoy Scotland and everything it has to offer if we look after it and we’re not just talking about major sites like Ben Nevis here, but local parks and green spaces too.
“So we came up with Scotland Is Stunning, Let’s Keep It That Way.
“We’re very lucky to live in such a beautiful place and we wanted to remind everyone of that fact.
“By littering, people are destroying the countryside that they claim to love and ruining it for others.
“We want people to enjoy the great outdoors – visiting our parks, beaches, or woodlands – but we also want them to look after it.”
Every year, it costs local authorities £53 million to clean up after people who have left litter behind.
An army of volunteers also roll up their sleeves in communities across the country to rid their local beauty spots of rubbish.
Claire said: “It costs councils millions every year, simply because people drop litter without thinking.
“It’s brilliant that councils are supported by thousands of volunteers who are making a difference in our local communities.
“There should be no need for them to clean up after someone else but councils don’t have the budget to pick up every piece of litter that’s dropped.
“The best solution is for people not to drop it in the first place. We all need to take responsibility for our own litter – and that’s the campaign message.
“We’ve had a great response via our website and social media sites, with a lot of people engaging with us, sharing and talking about the campaign.
“Many of our partners, at tourism and beauty spots and national parks, have already downloaded the posters and assets to get the message out there.
“However, we hope even more people will now get on board and help us keep Scotland stunning.
“It’s a positive message and one we hope everyone in Scotland will get behind.”
While litter has a financial and environmental cost, another major issue is the impact it has on the amazing wildlife that calls Scotland home.
So Claire hopes animal lovers will also sign up for the campaign.
She added: “Litter is so damaging, not just to the environment but our incredible wildlife too.
“It ends up in our waterways and can cause real problems for the ecosystem once it’s in there.
“We’ve featured wildlife in the campaign because people do care quite deeply about that, even if they don’t think they are doing much harm by dropping litter.
“Plastics can cause a great deal of harm if they are swallowed by wildlife.
“We hope featuring wildlife will maybe make some people think twice about dropping litter.
“It’s tapping into people’s love of nature, as well as the pride they have in Scotland.”
The five week campaign began in earnest on July 15, just as businesses started to emerge from lockdown.
With staycations and day trips now on the increase, it is hoped it will be perfectly timed to make people think twice before they head out the door.
For more information or to support the campaign, visit wasteless.zerowastescotland.org.uk.
Top tips to keep our country clean
If you know you’re going to be travelling a bit further afield for a day trip or staycation, there are eight simple steps you can take to ensure you don’t leave any litter when you leave.
1. Keep a bin bag in your car or backpack, so you’re always prepared.
2. Take your own reusable containers for eating out, to avoid having to dispose takeaway food packaging.
3. Use reusables when out and about including straws, coffee cups, water bottles and cutlery.
4. Don’t place a disposable barbeque in a bin until it has cooled down completely, make sure it is fully extinguished by using plenty of water or sand.
5. Make sure your litter won’t blow away,or get dropped while you’re visiting or having a picnic.
6. Remember that cigarette butts and fruit peelings become litter when dropped.
7. Make use of community bins or bring your rubbish home if they are full.
8. Recycle your litter when you get home, if you can.
You can show your support for the campaign by downloading the campaign posters and social media assets to share on your social channels and in your local community.
The material can be downloaded from the website at wasteless.zerowastescotland.org.uk.