Community clean-ups are brilliant because they:
make an instant impact in a community
are an informal way for people to get together
are a great way to get people thinking about the environment
What you need
Bin bags and bags for recycling
Rakes or shovels
A safe container for sharp objects
First aid kit
Anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer
High visibility vests
Luggage scales (for weighing litter)
Food and drink
Ebay is a great place to look for litter pickers. They are pretty cheap. Also places like B&M Bargains tend to sell them at a reasonable price.
Before the clean-up
1Choose your space
This could be a local landmark or a hidden space you think needs some care and attention. Check with the landowner before the clean-up. Contact your local council to find out who owns the land if you’re not sure at gov.uk/find-local-council.
2Arrange to get your rubbish collected.
Do it yourself at your local recycling centre. Or contact the council to arrange collection. Find your local council by postcode at gov.uk/find-local-council.
3Get support from other groups and individuals
Look at this advice on finding support from local businesses and community groups.
4Think about health and safety
dangerous items (for example: syringes)
natural dangers like derelict buildings or free flowing water
Use this risk assessment template from Keep Britain Tidy. If you think an item is dangerous, poisonous or hazardous, contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.
Public liability insurance will cover your legal liability from accidental damage or injury. This includes damage or injury to a member of the public or their property. You can get this from most insurers.
6Ask your volunteers to wear suitable clothing
Get them to also bring protective gloves if they have any.
7Organise a meeting place
Make sure it’s easy for everyone to find.
8Work out the nearest place for hot drinks and access to a toilet
Ask a local community café if it’s OK to use their facilities.
9Let your volunteers know what’s happening on the day
Look at this advice on how to communicate with your volunteers.
The council’s local cleaner neighbourhood teams supply bin bags for free to groups doing litter picks. You can get plain white ones with the council name on it or purple ones that have ‘community litter pick’ on them.
On the day
1Transport your equipment to the meeting place
Get there a little earlier than your volunteers so you have everything ready.
2Brief your volunteers
Get everyone together, hand out equipment and remind them of the tasks that need completing.
We source most of our tools through community links. People attending community meetings and word of mouth. Heather the local Council Ranger is a great help as we have nowhere to store our tools, so we tend to borrow them.
I got in touch with another local group called Snicket Squad in my area who were able to lend me some of their equipment.
Make it for everyone
get as many adults as you can to join in so children can take part
give people different roles so that everyone can get involved. For example, think of a job a disabled person can do. Make sure people are comfortable with whatever they’re doing
make sure people can easily get to the space or area you want to clean up
- Keep Britain Tidy
Well known environmental charity that campaigns to reduce litter, improve local spaces and prevent waste.
- Litter Action
A charity whose mission is to create stronger, safer communities by involving people in litter picking.
A charity that helps those most in need, usually in areas of deprivation, to deal with the litter problem where they are.
Share your story
Do you have a story about how your community has come together to support each other?
We'd love to share your story on our website to encourage other people to get or offer support.