By Sean McGauran
Published: 24th August 2018

Keeping Scotland Beautiful

As you travel the North Coast 500 this year, you may notice some colourful characters along the way.

Keep Scotland Beautiful’s national ‘Give your litter a lift, take it home’ campaign has come to the wild North in a bid to keep one of the most stunning corners of Scotland (and the world, we’d argue) looking beautiful.

Litter is a growing problem in Scotland and litter discarded from vehicles onto roadsides is a particular challenge, as it is often nearly impossible to clean up.

The road network is immense and difficult to access regularly. We know that around 50 tonnes of litter are lifted from Scottish roadsides every month and that is likely to be only a fraction of what is getting dropped. This litter is not only ugly to look at, but it harms the land it lies on and can end up in our rivers, streams and the sea.

We’d like to encourage everyone to be considerate and take responsibility for their litter when on the road.

It’s not hard to do. Simply Give your litter a lift, take it home!

We spoke with Georgina Massouraki to find out more:

What we’re doing

We’ve teamed up with local businesses to display messaging, make bins more visible and give out handy packs to drivers, including our car litter bags.

Have you seen our funnel bins?

As part of our campaign and with the help of our partners Highland Spring, we are bringing innovation to Scotland.

Our new funnel bins have been shown to be effective in reducing roadside litter by encouraging people on the road to do the right thing.

The first two bins have been installed along the NC500 route, at Inverewe Garden and Scrabster Harbour. Look out for them if you’re passing by!

So, what can you do?

Travelling by road can be an adventure but it can also present some practical challenges. However, with a little bit of foresight and planning, you can make your way through without leaving a trace.

Pack a bag

Our research shows that the majority of litter dropped from vehicles comes from people eating and drinking on the road.

Plan ahead and make sure to have a bag to put your litter in. If you are likely to have smelly litter, pack a sealable bin so that you can take your litter with you until you find suitable waste disposal facilities. This could be when you next stop to refuel or restock. But be prepared to take your litter home with you if needs be.


The great thing about recyclable waste is that it is generally clean and dry. Empty bottles, cans, jars, cartons, aerosol cans and paper/cardboard can be collected separately to put in the recycling bin when you find one.

Find your nearest recycling centre with this handy tool from Highland Council.

In the bin. Not ‘next to’ or ‘on top of’

Litter disposal facilities are an important service, but if they are not usable for whatever reason, take your litter away with you.

Scotland is windy and litter left ‘near’ a bin is most likely to blow away beyond reach.


Convenience items are called that for a reason and being on the go can leave you with a lot of disposable packaging to er…dispose of. Pack a reusable water bottle, reusable take-away cup, tupperware and cutlery to be a road-tripping hero.

Leave the campsite cleaner than you found it

An old naturalist motto that still rings true.

No matter who’s responsible for the mess, try to improve the environment for those to follow. We all have the power to make a difference. Why not?

For some this is home. For others, an adventure. Let’s all respect the land and keep Scotland beautiful.

Are you a master road-tripper? Share your tips for travelling without a trace @KSBScotland using #GiveYourLitterALift

Do you have any comments or suggestions? Get in touch @KSBScotland using #RoadsideLitter

Did you know?

Dropping litter is illegal in Scotland and carries an £80 penalty. The penalty for flytipping -the illegal dumping of waste- is £200. You can report litter and flytipping to Highland Council here.

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