The types and sources

Coastal litter is usually grouped into eight main material types, but the most commonly found items are made of plastic.

The groups are:

  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Cloth
  • Paper
  • Polystyrene
  • Rubber
  • Wood

A separate category, sewage related debris, defines a range of items made from different material types which enter the marine environment from our sewer network.

There are four main sources of coastal and marine litter:

  • People (80% of coastal and marine litter comes from land - either dropped in cities, towns, rural areas or at the beach - being blown or entering our water ways via drainage systems, ultimately ending up in the marine environment).
  • The fishing industry
  • The shipping industry
  • The sewage network
Clean Up Scotland
Find out more about our national campaign Clean Up Scotland and how you can get involved in a beach clean.
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