Grassmarket focus for new action on litter



Grassmarket focus for new action on litter

Social experiments set to put local personalities at the heart of new clean up campaign

Residents, shopkeepers and business owners in the Grassmarket area are getting ready to place their community at the heart of Edinburgh’s first anti-littering social experiment.  Set to tackle the littering behaviour on city centre streets, the campaign will encourage visitors and residents alike to green up and clean up the historic market area which has high visitor numbers and faces street litter challenges.

The Grassmarket Neat Streets initiative will launch in May with a succession of anti-littering campaigns, commencing with My Street is Your Street.  This will see a series of posters, featuring local people and encouraging others to take pride in the area, on display throughout the Grassmarket, alongside street banners carrying the campaign message.  A number of businesses will also receive a support kit including campaign information and coloured brooms and planters.

Neat Streets has been made possible by a unique collaboration of wide ranging companies working in partnership with Hubbub, a charity which explores innovative ways to interest consumers in important sustainability issues, The City of Edinburgh Council, the environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, local residents and shopkeepers from the Greater Grassmarket Business Improvement District (BID) area. 

Beth Berry, who owns the business ‘At The Market’ and runs the weekly Grassmarket Market features in one of the My Street is Your Street posters.  She commented:

“The business and residential community in the Grassmarket is vital to its success as a historic visitor destination and a thriving place to live and do business.  I am backing this campaign because litter doesn’t help anyone; it is bad for business, bad for our reputation and has no place in our historic home.  I want those that live, work and visit to take some pride and keep the Grassmarket beautiful.”

With recent research in Scotland highlighting that more than 60% of people are annoyed by fast food packaging, discarded food waste, and cigarette litter, the Neat Streets campaign will explore innovative ways to reduce all litter types including artwork installations and ballot voting cigarette bins - which will be rolled out successively between May and October 2016.

Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We are incredibly proud of this beautiful city, but littering is something which continues to damage its environment for residents and visitors alike. As we all know, the issue is avoidable, and by placing the community at its heart, I really believe that Neat Streets can have an impact on people passing through the Grassmarket.


“As we approach the Festival season and the historic Old Town becomes busier, the build-up of litter is all the more evident, so I look forward to seeing how this creative initiative can tackle this, in tandem with other anti-litter campaigns we have planned across the city this year.”




Notes to editors

  1. The core funding supporters of the Neat Streets campaign are Coca-Cola Enterprises, INCPEN, McDonald’s, Costa, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Veolia, Plastics Europe, the Packaging Federation and Packaging Recycling Group Scotland.
  2. Keep Scotland Beautiful is the charity that campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global environmental issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for. We are committed to making Scotland clean, green and more sustainable.  Further details at
  3. Hubbub ( is a new charity that explores innovative ways to interest mainstream consumers in important sustainability issues, through different ‘hubs’ of activity: Food; Fashion; Homes; Neighbourhoods; Sport; Leisure.
  4. Media enquiries to Kirsty Leiper 07908 781 331 or Peter Duncan 07740 469949/


Quotes from campaign supporters and funders:

Trewin Restorick, Hubbub’s Founder and CEO, said: “The Neat Streets campaign will test innovative ways to prevent litter, trying new interventions for the first time in Scotland. We will introduce new ideas and best practice from around the world and we’re delighted to have brought together this unique collaboration of organisations to tackle this important issue.”

Carole Noble, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful said:
“We recently published research which identified that local environmental quality is deteriorating Scotland-wide.  The Grassmarket’s Neat Streets initiative is an innovative and personal example of a community coming together and helping us to prevent even further decline.

“We hope that the forthcoming series of Neat Streets installations capture attention and motivate businesses, visitors and residents to clean up and green up the Grassmarket area.”

Norrie Stewart, Project Manager Grassmarket BID said: "The Neat Streets project is an imaginative and positive initiative to deal with the perennial problem of littering.  The use of 'well kent' local faces injects a realism and immediacy into this aspect of the overall strategy to make our streets cleaner and more attractive.


“Collaborating with Keep Scotland Beautiful ensures that we can all focus better on improving the look and feel of the Greater Grassmarket district."

Bev Burnham, Senior Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Enterprises said, “We all want a clean, safe environment, and litter has no place in such an environment.  We need to change the habits of a minority of people who think it is okay to discard their products and packaging.

And collaboration is key – governments, businesses, local authorities and litter sector groups must work together, to pool resources and tackle all litter.  That is why we are delighted to support Hubbub and Keep Scotland Beautiful on Neat Streets Edinburgh; this takes our existing partnerships with these environmental organisations to another level – and all of us closer to the solution.  Let’s bin all rubbish.”

Jane Bickerstaffe, INCPEN Director says, “Since INCPEN was established in 1974, our members have supported campaigns that aim to make people proud of their environment.  We’re pleased to be working with HUBBUB and Keep Scotland Beautiful to make it fun and acceptable for residents and tourists NOT to litter and to make the Grassmarket  litter-free.”

Oliver Rosevear, Energy & Environment Manager for Costa said; “Litter is something that we take very seriously and recently lead the biggest UK litter pick with over 600 of our stores taking part. We welcome new and creative ways to tackle the issue of litter in our local communities and are proud to be involved in this innovative initiative.


Alice Thornton-Smith, Corporate Affairs Officer, Lucozade Ribena Suntory said, “Littering is an ongoing problem and it’s time for new and innovative thinking to tackle this issue. Lucozade Ribena Suntory is pleased to be working with Hubbub and other businesses in Scotland to inspire consumers to change behaviour through positive actions.”

Dick Searle from The Packaging Federation said, "The Packaging Federation is committed to work with all groups across society to find ways of discouraging litter behaviour that are innovative and engaging.  We strongly support the Neat Streets Edinburgh initiative in its search for new ways to combat the menace of littering behaviour."

Jane Bickerstaffe, spokesperson for the Packaging Recycling Group Scotland, PRGS, said: “PRGS members are pleased to support this Neat Streets initiative which encourages new and fun ways to tackle littering.  We are committed to working with the government and other stakeholders to tackle all types of litter.  We hope that it will prove that litter can be tackled effectively with creative ideas in partnership with the community.”