Litter Survey Activity

Suitable for: Early Years, Primary, Secondary   

Did you know?

According to Zero Waste Scotland, we collect 50 Kelpies’ worth of litter every year.

That's 15,000 tonnes, or 250 million items – nearly 50 pieces of litter for every person in Scotland. Or, in other words, 475 pieces of litter dropped every minute.

You'll need:

  • Survey sheets - print ours or make your own
  • Pen or pencil 
  • Hand sanitiser


  •  Gloves, a litter picker and a bin bag


Taking part in a litter survey is a great way for people of all ages to enjoy some exercise while making a real, visible difference to the environment at the same time.  If we know how, where and what types of litter are causing a problem in our community, we then have a better idea of how to fix the problem.

Choose an area of your neighbourhood to do your survey.  (Make sure you're following government guidelines on social distancing).   

Mild: Count all the pieces of litter you see and write them down. Or, use our litter scavenger hunt. On your next walk, count again and see if there are any more in the same area. What can we do about this?

Medium: Create a tally mark table with the heading big, medium and small for all the pieces of litter you see.  On your next walk, count again and see if there are any more in the same area. Do you mostly find small, medium or large pieces of litter? What can we do about this?

Spicy: Count the number of pieces of litter you see using our litter survey sheet, or make your own using our headings for the different materials you might find on your survey e.g. cardboard, plastic, dog poo etc.  On your next walk, count again and compare your results. What type of litter do you find the most often? Why is it important to know what type of litter we find?

Extension: If you feel safe to do so, collect the litter you find using a litter picker.  Please do not touch litter with your hands at this time. If you can, weigh the bag to see how much you have collected.  Be sure to dispose of the bag of collected litter responsibly.  Think of ways you and your family can encourage others to not litter. Some ideas include:

Share your results with us!

We would love to see what you've done with our activities.  Please share your results with us with hashtag #EcoSchoolsAtHome:



Watch: Heather shows us how easy it is to organise a litter pick and stay safe.

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