Published: 20th MARCH 2023

How volunteers can help tackle Scotland's litter emergency this spring

As 90% of people agree that litter is a problem across Scotland, Sustrans Scotland’s lead for National Cycle Network Volunteering, Laura White, highlights the ways volunteers can get involved in 2024's Spring Clean on their local paths.

Volunteers litter picking on National Cycle Network Route 73 in Kilwinning.

Credit: John Linton, 2019.

In November 2023, Keep Scotland Beautiful published their annual Scottish Litter Survey.

For the third consecutive year, people highlighted they were most concerned about the impact of litter on local wildlife and the environment.

This was followed by how people from outside the area would perceive the neighbourhood.

However a desire to tackle the issue and littering behaviour in communities across Scotland also came out strongly.

Barry Fisher, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: "Whilst we know Scotland has a litter emergency, we also know how many people not only want positive action but are taking that action themselves.” 

So, how can you get involved on the National Cycle Network this year?


Get involved with Spring Clean 

Spring Clean is a Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign to encourage people to litter pick in their community.  

Last year’s Spring Clean saw more than 30,000 people roll up their sleeves and make a positive difference to their neighbourhoods across Scotland. 

89% of those that took part said that going outdoors to litter pick also helped them relax and unwind.

Sustrans is once again partnering with Keep Scotland Beautiful to support people to clean up their local National Cycle Network routes during this time. 

This year’s Spring Clean runs from 15 March to 28 April.  

We know that time can be tight, but by taking even the smallest actions, you can make a difference to one of the country’s biggest environmental emergencies. 

A full Sustrans Scotland #2MinuteCleanUp bag on National Cycle Network Route 75.

In 2022, Scotland recorded its worst year for litter. Credit: Sustrans Scotland, 2021.

Only got a couple of minutes?

Join the Sustrans Action Team and we’ll send you a reusable #2MinuteCleanUp bag. 

These bags are designed to be kept in a backpack or pannier and used to collect a few bits of litter on your everyday walk, wheel or cycle, then emptied into an appropriate bin.  

As part of the Action Team, we’ll also tell you about other ways you can help Sustrans’ work with whatever time you have.

Find out more about the Action Team and apply.

Got more time? Join the Spring Clean team

Join our Sustrans Spring Clean team and commit to regular litter picks on your local National Cycle Network routes throughout the 6-week campaign.

Sustrans can provide you with all the equipment needed and advise on how to have the waste collected.

Plus, we can help involve your friends and family too.

You tell us what you’ve been doing, and we’ll share the data with Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Join the Spring Clean Team.

Member of the Thursday Squad putting litter into a picking bag hoop on the National Cycle Network in Renfrewshire.

Sustrans is partnering with Keep Scotland Beautiful to support people to clean up their local National Cycle Network routes. Credit: Sustrans Scotland, 2023.

Part of a community group?

Sustrans can support community clean-ups on the National Cycle Network through the Love Your Network grant.

Find out more about what's on offer. 

You can also register your clean-ups so others can find them on the Clean Up Scotland map.


Share your volunteering

Why not inspire others by spreading the word in your networks and sharing your actions on social media using #SpringCleanScotland and #NationalCycleNetwork. 

For more information about volunteering for Sustrans, visit the Get Involved pages of the website.

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