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Litter Prevention and Education

The litter problem and how to help.

We all want West Lothian's streets towns and villages to be clean and tidy and we all need to work together to achieve this.

The Street Cleansing Team manage and empty litter bins and remove litter from roads, footpaths, town centres and rural road side verges. We get lots of help from volunteers too and work with groups to pick up the bags of litter they collect. The easiest way that you can help is to always put your litter in a bin. There are 2000 litter bins across West Lothian, but we can't have bins on every street so if you don't see one nearby, take your litter with you and put it in the correct wheelie bin at home.

Educational Resources for Schools and Groups

West Lothian Council has four Education and Enforcement Officers. They can help you organise a community litter pick and provide equipment and visit your school or community group to talk about litter and the environment. They can also issue fixed penalty notices of £80 if they see you drop litter. Find out more about what they do by visiting the Education and Enforcment Officers page.

Zero Waste Scotland have downloadable educational resources aimed at S1 and S2 pupils. You can access the #GetLitterLiterate resources here or read on for more litter facts and figures!

The Problems with Litter

Litter just breaks down and disappears ... doesn't it?

Nope. Litter likes to hang around, sometimes for years, sometimes forever! These are just a few examples of commonly littered items and how long they will stay in the environment. Even when something like a plastic bottle or a crisp packet can't be seen any more, it doesn't mean it's gone, its just broken up into lots of tiny pieces.

Apple core litter in grass
Apple core - 1 month  

Pizza/burger food waste - 6 weeks

Cardboard packaging - 3 months

Banana skin - 2 years

Cigarette butt - 12 years

Coffee cup - 30 years

crisp packet litter in grass
Crisp packet - 80 years

Aluminium drinks can - 200 years

Plastic bottle - 450 years

Glass bottle litter in dirt

Polystyrene - 500 years

Chewing gum - never breaks down

Glass - never breaks down