Arbroath Football Club’s anti-litter initiative is proving to be top of the league.
The Courier can reveal some top clubs across Scotland have been watching the Arbroath initiative with interest.
Some are considering implementing similar schemes to reduce the culture of littering within their own stadiums when football returns.
The campaign was launched in November and the Lichties have been working with volunteer group Angus Clean Environments (ACE) to change behaviour and reduce the litter left behind after matches.
Arbroath became involved with the group to explore ways in which it could reduce its environmental impact and “help change the littering culture” at Gayfield.
Due to Gayfield’s proximity to the coast, litter dropped at the stadium risks damaging the marine environment.
The club’s new Litter Champions scheme appoints volunteers who then encourage supporters to use the bins and pick up litter in exchange for free match tickets.
Extra bins were also placed around the ground to make it easier for fans to play their part before the season was suspended as a result of coronavirus.
Club director Brian Cargill said the anti-littering initiative had been proving a great success and had generated change at all levels within Gayfield.
He said: “Around 20 volunteers have participated thus far and all obtained free tickets to matches at Gayfield.
“Without exception, both home and away fans have been extremely supportive of the volunteers and have welcomed the opportunity to do the right thing with their litter.”
New bins have been sited around the stadium with attention grabbing designs to encourage fans to bin their litter including one featuring Arbroath tennis ace Jonny O’Mara who reached the last eight of the Australian Open.
Children from the young Lichties Club have also been involved in raising awareness of the initiative by creating anti-littering posters.
Mr Cargill said: “As a club we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and being so close to the sea we had major concerns about litter escaping into the marine environment.
“Due to the hard work of the Litter Champions the stadium is now completely litter free within an hour of the game being finished.
“We will continue to work in partnership with ACE and support our fans to do everything we can to protect the environment and encourage sustainability across all our activities.”
More of the club’s supporters can sign up to be litter champions with Arbroath once the season gets under way again by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACE member Ralph Coutts said many fans have told the group that they never wanted to leave their litter on the floor of the stadium but there was previously little choice.
He said: “Littering in football stadia has been the norm for decades but this initiative has demonstrated that change is both possible and necessary.”