Litter clearance and associated costs Scotland at least £78m a year, Zero Waste Scotland’s chief executive has reported.
Iain Gulland said more had to be done to reduce the impact of litter in the country as well as the rest of Europe.
His comments coincided with an anti-waste summit, Stop Litter now!, currently being held in Brussels.
It is organised by the Clean Europe Network, which recently reported that keeping the continent’s towns and countryside clean costs up to £10bn a year.
The conference aims to address the problem by finding solutions to enable the money to be diverted towards health care, education and job creation.
“£10bn is a shocking figure that shows litter is a huge problem across the whole of Europe, not just Scotland,” said Gulland.
“Our research has identified that litter costs Scotland at least £78m a year, including the direct costs of litter clearance, communications and enforcement, as well as wider costs associated with impacts on health and wellbeing, crime, wildlife and our environment.”
Gulland said his organisation, which is funded by the Scottish government, had already begun tackling the issue by pursuing the country’s first litter strategy.
“As well as clean-up activities, Zero Waste Scotland is funding innovative solutions to preventing litter, designing out unnecessary packaging, incentive schemes for communities and imaginative communications to get people to think again about dropping litter, which blights many communities across the country,” he said.
- The two-day Stop Litter Now! summit included representatives from Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Britain Tidy.