Go on a litter pick or beach clean

Scotland produces 15,000 tonnes of litter a year, and sadly, too much of it makes its way into our natural environments. It can often feel overwhelming as an individual to help with big conservation issues, but when it comes to litter everyone can do their bit and help! All you need to do is head to your local area and give it a good clean.

There are however some important safety pointers that need to be considered, so follow the below steps to make sure you can do your litter pick or beach clean safely.

Find out more about how litter affects marine wildlife, and the work the Trust is doing to reduce these impacts, by heading to the Living Seas section of our website.

Remember: Beach clean ups aren’t the only way to reduce marine pollution, other water systems lead into the ocean. If you don’t live near the sea, a great way to help is to clean up nearby rivers and lochs.

What you will need:

  • A friend or family member to go with
  • Thick gardening gloves
  • Strong bin bags
  • Brightly coloured clothes (for visibility)
  • Suitable footwear

How to go on a litter pick or beach clean:

  1. Carefully pick up items of man made litter, and place them in the bin bags.
  2. Make sure to avoid: broken glass; sharp objects; dog poo bags; anything dirty or dangerous; large and heavy objects; bottles of liquid.
  3. If you are unsure if something is safe to pick up, check with an adult first.
  4. Try not to overfill the bag  – you need to be able to tie it up and carry it, without it splitting.
  5.  If you are able to, split the items into separate bags for ‘recyclable’ and ‘general waste’ items.
  6. If you are organising a public litter pick or beach clean, you will need to follow some extra steps. Head to Surfers Against Sewage or Marine Conservation Society for tips.


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Time to complete

20 minutes - 1 hour

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Resource Level

Curriculum linked

Social Studies (People, place and environment)

Health and Wellbeing (Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing)


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