A network of litter-picking hubs

GIVEN the resource challenges facing local authorities in Scotland – plus the reasonable question: Why only them? – our streets are never going to be free of litter without the intervention of ordinary members of the public.

And in Glasgow, its ‘good citizens’ are being offered the chance to step up and make a difference, by accessing ‘community litter-picking hubs’, where a wide array of equipment can be borrowed.

To date, there are now 88 of them (the most recent located in the Tollcross area of the city), recorded on an online map – here

On clicking any of the locations on the map, up pops contact details. And since most of the hubs are indoors – including in community centres and even coffee houses – there is little difficulty in arranging the collection and return of equipment. Meanwhile, volunteers are able to email organisers for access instructions to the outdoor hubs.

The indoor hubs are jointly funded by Glasgow City Council, Keep Scotland Beautiful and the fast food chain, McDonalds. And the initiative is part of wider work by Glasgow City Council, encouraging partnership working and civic pride.

Over 500 people have signed up as Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteers (here), and it’s little surprise that they provide a steady stream of the hubs’ users.

A hub – manufactured by Wybone – costs circa £600 per unit (not including interior kit, and discount is available for bulk orders). Between December 6 two years ago (when the first hub was installed, in Knightswood Park) and July 4 this year, an estimated 980 bags of refuse have been collected.

Using a QR code, litter pickers have the facility to record their efforts and provide intelligence as to any particular, local issues which can help the city council target resources where needed. The bags of rubbish collected are uplifted by the council.

The programme is understood to be something of a trailblazer, at least in Scotland.

Says a Glasgow City Council spokeswoman: “Many people across the city take pride in their neighbourhoods and want to play a part in improving their appearance. The community litter picking hubs make it easier and more convenient for people to access equipment to carry out local litter picks.

“The hubs have proved extremely popular with residents, including our amazing Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteers. They have also attracted attention from other local authorities that are looking at innovative ways to tackle litter in their own areas.

“We are committed to working in partnership with residents and businesses to tackle litter and encourage those who drop it to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.”

Mike Wilson is a member of the Place Design Scotland team

Picture credit: Wybone

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