Giving back to the community: our first-ever litter pick

For almost five decades, we’ve spread our passion for screen-printed ceramics worldwide, with Mclaggan mugs enjoyed as far afield as the Falkland Islands and Japan. You may even be drinking from one right now. But long before it reached your kitchen cupboard, your mug was screen-printed, hand-decorated and kiln-fired at our factory in Scotland. Read on to learn a bit more about our factory’s locale and what we’re doing to give back to the community.

We originally started life as Mclaggan Smith Prints in 1974 in founder Wally’s garage in Helensburgh. It wasn’t long before production moved to our factory in Jamestown, where we still make mugs today. The area has strong industrial roots, in large thanks to River Leven which meanders through it. The river links Jamestown to the nearby Clydebank and Glasgow, both historic shipbuilding hubs. Although now an important commuter town, the area has a long history of manufacturing, with the likes of Polaroid and Singer previously providing many local jobs. We’re proud to continue this tradition, employing more than 20 skilled workers from the area.  

West Dunbartonshire is known for more than its industrial legacy. With Scotland’s first National Park just a stone’s throw from our factory, we’re incredibly lucky to have the world-famous Loch Lomond right on our doorstep. With such a rich heritage and natural beauty, we felt it was important to give something back. So, in anticipation of Earth Day (and with sunnier weather creeping in), last month we organised our first-ever litter pick.

And what a glorious day it was for it! The sun was shining as our team headed out to tidy up the local area. After planning our route and ensuring we all had our hi-vis vests, we split into two groups. For this initial litter pick, we didn’t stray too far from the area immediately outside our factory. Directly opposite is a grassy common popular with dogwalkers, so this made a good starting point along with the road running the length of the industrial estate. Forty-five minutes and several bulging bin bags later, we head back to the factory for a debrief and a cuppa.

A litter pick has several benefits beyond simply leaving the area cleaner than we found it. Firstly, it helps to raise awareness about the issue of littering and the importance of keeping our surroundings clean. You get to see first-hand how much litter there is and its impact on the environment. What I found most surprising wasn’t how enjoyable I found the process (although it was,) but the number of bin bags we were able to fill in such a short space of time.

It is also a fantastic team-building activity, providing an opportunity for members of the Mclaggan team to work together towards a common goal, all while enjoying some fresh air and exercise. By the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment and, perhaps more importantly, community. A small accomplishment, but nonetheless an accomplishment. This may have been our first litter pick, but it certainly won’t be the last.

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