Aberdeenshire anti-litter campaign: New posters spark fury among residents who call out unfortunate word choice

An anti-litter campaign in Aberdeenshire has prompted criticism from local residents after new posters were revealed online branding culprits “tossers”.

The council commissioned the colourful posters which read “Don’t be a tosser take your litter home” and “Pick up your poo don’t be a tosser”.

After circulating online, it was clear that residents were not impressed with the use of the word “tosser”.

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One local councillor, Stephen Calder told the Press and Journal: “As soon as the council posted them online, I received lots of negative comments from local people.

“I went back to council immediately and told them that I object to my ward and residents being described as tossers.”

He added: “The lack of coordination with local groups and councillors makes it seem like a slap in the face to them.

“I’m an anti-tosser.”

The council said that despite immense efforts by staff, community groups and individuals to keep Aberdenshire clean, there are still many people who need reminding that the countryside is not a litter bin.

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Theresa Ritchie, who volunteers with Pick Up Peterhead said she was disappointed by the lack of consultation regarding the posters.

She said: “I don’t find it offensive, I’m just disappointed that they did not consult with us about this, the people who volunteer and have worked hard to clean up their area.

“We need to work together to solve it, and different solutions are needed for different regions.

New posters which read "Don't be a Tosser" spark fury among residents who call out unfortunate word choice.

“The wording also isn’t great, imagine kids seeing the poster and then asking their teacher or parent what a tosser is.”

The council announced the anti-littering campaign in August, 2020, but shared these new posters on Facebook on May 18, 2021.

The plan was to display the posters in parks and open spaces as a reminder to help keep the local environment beautiful.

Philip McKay, Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “While we are by no means the first to use this wording, it remains impactful, as we can see from the debate that has begun.

"I would much rather that the debate centred around the substantive issue of littering in our countryside and communities.”

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