Category Archives: Actions to tackle litter

LitterID Service

Albion is delighted to launch our new “LitterID” service for local authorities in the UK.

Using the latest technology, developed in collaboration with leading universities in the UK, litter can be tested and DNA identified. The test will take place at a lab near our office and takes less than 5 minutes to be completed. Once the test result is available the result is uploaded into our computer system using the latest AI technology to identify the litter culprit. In independent tests of the technology we have achieved an accuracy of 99.9%.

The Benefits to Councils

  • Millions of pounds are spent by councils each year clearing and lifting litter – many believe this money could be better spent on other services.
  • Litter results in degradation of public areas.
  • Littering is a serious blight on our landscape and has a detrimental effect on our tourism industry.
  • The law is clear – under Section 87 EPA 1990 – Littering is a criminal offence, throwing down or dropping an item in any public open space is classed as littering. If a person is found guilty of the offence they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £80 or could potentially be prosecuted and risk a fine of up to £2,500.
  • This new technology allows councils to get serious about litter and provide a proper deterrent to littering.

Examples of typical use may be –

  • Officers frequent local pubs and sample and analyse cigarette butts outside pubs – frequently there will be multiple butts discarded so for example 20 butts would generate £1,600 for a few hours work
  • After large events or during summer weather, when for example lots of people visit our lovely beaches but simply leave or discard their litter – councils can gear up with extra officers.  Revenue potential can run into tens of thousands of pounds
  • An interesting option is when councils collect roadside litter, the waste collected can be taken back to a central location, tested and offenders identified! This would require some investment from councils but the testing is so quick and easy that one officer can test an item ever minute resulting in a fine rate of £4,800.

The Process

Albion will provide the following service to local authorities who wish to use this innovative technology –

Provision of sampling and test kits for your officers.

In person training for your officers which will include training on sampling and testing.

In person training for staff who will be authorised to use the AI powered data base to identify offenders and issue fixed penalty notices.

Albion believe this technology will be a game changer for addressing the serious blight of littering in the UK. There will be no hiding place for people who litter. Councils will need to work out policies regarding how this can be implemented. For example serial offenders may find they receive multiple fines but ultimately – if you don’t want a fine – don’t litter – it’s easy!

For further information and costs of this new service in the UK please do not hesitate to contact:

For any enquiries outwith the UK we are setting up a franchise system so please get in touch, and we can also discuss this option.

Useful Links to Support this:

Litter and fly tipping legislation | Zero Waste Scotland

Who is responsible for litter and fly-tipping? | Zero Waste Scotland

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Responsibilities | Community Litter Hub (

Clean Air Day 2023

Today, Thursday 15th June 2023, is Clean Air Day.
Clean Air Day, led by Global Action Plan, is the UK’s largest campaign against air pollution. Each year, Clean Air Day campaigns engage thousands of people at real-life events and reach millions through online media. The campaign is of great importance, as poor air quality causes lung and heart diseases, birth defects, issues with children’s lung development, and perhaps also contributes to mental health problems. In fact, air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to human health. The World Health Organisation states that air pollution kills around 7 million globally each year – and 4.2 million deaths are a result of outdoor air pollution. Financially, Public Health England estimated that in 2017 air pollution cost the NHS and social care system over £42 million. The main causes of outdoor air pollution are traffic emissions, with power generation, agricultural processes, and waste management practices also contributing. Recently, wildfire smoke has become a greater contributor to air pollution levels, as a result of climate change. Additionally, removing vegetation within urban areas can worsen the impacts of air pollution.                          All of these problems are contributing to dirtier air, and as cities continue to develop and grow, such issues must be countered. The UK Government reports on air pollution levels annually, and many urban UK areas are repeatedly found to have illegally high levels of air pollution. There was a brief respite in air pollution levels in 2020, as the first Covid-19 lockdown was instated. However, as lockdown was relaxed levels increased again, and now air pollution levels show little sign of dropping.  Air pollution is a major problem facing the world today – and one that is not being given the appropriate attention and urgency it requires. Clean air ought to be a basic need, but it is often being thought of as a luxury, with harmful air pollution levels mostly affecting poorer communities, and those living in the developing world. This needs to change. There are many commitments companies can make to help reduce air pollution levels. At Albion we have implemented our Carbon Reduction Policy which includes objectives such as,  lowering vehicle emissions by transitioning to electric vehicles and encouraging staff to use greener modes of transport (e.g. through cycle to work schemes). Another good step is to follow the principles of the circular economy and ensure that clean energy is being used. Here at Albion, we have been working towards raising awareness of dust and bioaerosols (airborne microorganisms – such as bacteria and fungi – or tiny fragments of larger organisms), both of which can be harmful outdoor air pollutants. Through a KTP project on bioaerosols, we are also expanding consultancy capacity for monitoring and reviewing bioaerosol concentrations, which is a major issue with organic waste management and intensive animal farming systems. To find out more about our bioaerosol services, click here. Want to see more posts about #CleanAirDay ? Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn

Disposable Vapes – A health hazard in more ways than one!

The popularity of disposable vapes / e-cigarettes in the UK has risen significantly over the past few years, with approximately 168 million disposable vapes purchased each year in the UK. The new phenomenon is alarmingly dangerous for both public health and environmental damage. Disposable vapes contain plastic, stainless steel, aluminium and a lithium battery and are categorised as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), meaning they should be recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres, or returned to shops they are bought from. Unfortunately, around 1.3 million disposable vapes are thrown way each week, ending up either on the streets or if disposed, in landfill or incinerated. The lithium battery contained within these products is a precious, and finite, resource, which we need to be recovering and recycling. There is an additional risk of fire when disposable vapes are placed in the residual or household recycling, as lithium-ion batteries can explode if damaged while being processed. Not only is the use and subsequent incorrect disposal of these products wasting valuable resource, but it is also causing an increased risk of fires in the waste and recycling sector. This causes further damage to the environment and increased risk of injury for workers at waste and recycling facilities. So, what is the solution?

Recent headlines have discussed some retailers banning the sale of disposable vapes, due to concerns of their impact on public and environmental health. There may be good intentions behind this, however disposable vapes will still be readily available for purchase from many retailers.

So where does producer responsibility come into force to tackle the ongoing waste issues these products are causing?

Is it acceptable to use finite resources in millions of disposable products?

Should governments look to ban these disposable products or could more be done to apply extended producer responsibility to these products, so that producers of these products are held responsible for the correct and safe disposal of them, and the public have a financial incentive to return used products.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3113), aim to encourage the reuse and recycling of these items by placing financial responsibilities on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to pay for collection and disposal schemes for WEEE, but with so many disposable vapes ending up on the streets or in landfill, more action is definitely required.

DRS in Scotland – Unintended consequences ahead of the roll-out in 2023?

Following the commissioning of an independent forecast report, Falkirk Council have announced its plan to put a stop to collection of glass at the kerbside once the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has been installed in August 2023. The Report anticipated DRS would cost the Council £234,000. This is mainly a result of a loss in revenue from the sale of glass, cans and plastic. On the other hand, there are suggestions that the Council could be saving £54,000 as residents would be less likely to contaminate their residual bins with DRS material.


Could this be one of the unintended consequences of DRS? In principle DRS is great because of the volume of recyclable bottles that still end up in the residual waste bin at the kerbside or litter on our streets is still too high. Various other countries like Germany and the Netherlands already have DRS provision for single-use plastic bottles and reusable beer bottles, with the latter now also introducing a DRS for aluminium cans at the end of this month. Research has indicated that over 70% of Scots are positive towards DRS, which is going to be essential to make it work. With recent amendments to the scheme for small business being formalised and the introduction of the DRS in Scotland now very much looking to go ahead next summer, Councils may need to look for other income streams.. or savings, as one of the side effects of DRS might be creating a greater awareness of recycling amongst residents, and less recyclate (and revenue) for councils to collect!

Read about Falkirk Council’s plans here:

Albion Environmental’s ‘My Bins App’

In December 2020, we launched our first digital product the ‘SAC MyBins App’. After a year of planning, designing and of course living through a global pandemic, we were finally able to launch our first waste and recycling app in partnership with South Ayrshire Council. SAC MyBins is household waste and recycling app which provides a bin collection calendar, collection reminder notifications, and handy recycling tips and advice all from one app.

Albion Environmental have worked with Local Authorities for a number of years to deliver recycling initiatives and a wide range of waste management projects, so we wanted to design an app which would offer benefits to both council workers and local people. The app aims to reduce the volume of waste going to landfill, and advise householders on the best way to separate their waste.

Since launching in December 20020, the SAC MyBins App has received great feedback both from South Ayrshire Council’s waste management teams, elected members and householders across the town.

“The SAC MyBins app provides a great new, interactive way for residents to keep up to date with waste and recycling services across South Ayrshire.” Councillor Ian Cochrane 

The SAC MyBins App has been a hit with local residents and received positive reviews across the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The SAC MyBins App is currently rated 4.5/5 stars in the App Store and 4.3/5 on the Play Store!

Coming to a council near you?

We have designed the MyBins app for widespread use across all UK local authorities and can customise information to suit your waste and recycling services. Local Authorities can enquire about integrating the MyBins App with their waste management services, and we manage the rest. Head to the MyBins App website for more information and app demos.

MyBins Logo, blue and white square with rubbish bin outline

We are currently taking on new contracts for the MyBins App!

If you’d like to have the MyBins App for your local authority area, enquire via our website, or email: