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Glasgow City Council

Glasgow City Council

Trade Waste Project

The challenge

Glasgow City Council is responsible for an area with one of the highest densities of population of any locality in Scotland. This includes renowned shopping areas Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street and many of Glasgow's cultural venues including the Kings Theatre and The Royal Concert Hall.

This high concentration of retail and leisure businesses across a small area creates an ongoing issue for the council around the management of trade waste, particularly its impact on streetscapes, its contribution to litter and the health and safety aspects of waste collecting on the city’s streets.

To begin to provide a solution to this problem, the Council embarked on a Trade Waste Project (TWP) to cut down on the number of trade waste containers in the city, in the hope of reducing the amount of litter derived from trade waste and lessening the existing burden on front line operational services. They also hoped to encourage businesses to manage their waste more responsibly, thereby supporting Glasgow in its efforts to be a more sustainable and environmentally friendly city.

In February 2018, prior to the introduction of the TWP, Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) were engaged to conduct an independent Trade Waste Survey. The key aim of this survey was to assess the impact of the TWP and to make further recommendations to Glasgow City Council’s Commercial Waste Project (CWP) Working Group on the potential for rolling out the programme across the city.

Our approach

In March 2018 KSB carried out a survey of 183 transects in various locations across the city centre, which provided baseline information about the number of trade waste containers placed on its streets and lanes. The survey also recorded whether these containers were overflowing, and the presence of any type of litter around them. From the 1st April all businesses in the city centre were then required by the Council to remove their commercial waste receptacles from public spaces, lanes and pavement areas.

12 weeks later, in June 2018, KSB undertook a second survey, visiting the same locations assessed during the baseline survey. Each location was visited on the same day of the week and at approximately the same time to ensure a direct comparison. Each transect was also graded in line with the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (Scotland) 2006 (COPLAR) to give an overall impression of the area in terms of cleanliness.

How we made a difference

The June survey identified that of the 183 areas resurveyed;

  • 83.1% were of an acceptable standard of cleanliness (Grade A or B);
  • 16.9% were unacceptable grades (C and D);

These June results showed that when compared with the results of the March survey (where only 71.6% of the sites were graded as acceptable) there was a 11.5% improvement in the level of cleanliness. This was despite a reduction in the presence of all types of trade containers, down from 484 in March to 63 in June.

Therefore, the survey results provided the Council with raw data which showed that the removal of 87% of trade waste bins from the recorded spaces had helped to improve the cleanliness and appearance of the city centre’s streetscapes.

The Trade Waste survey also recognised the role of the education and enforcement programmes that were undertaken by the City Council to support the TWP and concluded that if this continued then there was an increased likelihood for compliance with the project leading to better and cleaner public spaces in Glasgow in the future.

Using the results of the survey, the CWP Working Group has been assessing the approved rollout of the initiative to other areas of the city.


Keep Scotland Beautiful’s evaluations have been instrumental in providing GCC with independent analysis of the cleanliness of Glasgow’s streets, thereby enabling us to effectively monitor the relative impact of the Commercial Waste Project (CWP). Furthermore, KSB’s methodology and the level of detail provided within their reports also helped us to identify factors contributing to the incidence of adverse environmental quality indicators. This information will form the basis of further targeted actions and of refining CWP as appropriate.

John Foster, Project Officer, City Centre Regeneration

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