Complete Guide to Organise a Litter Picking Event in Your Community
Posted by louis smith on
One of the most significant issues globally, let alone in the UK, is the abundance of litter – with over two (2) million litter pieces being dropped every day. All of us will indeed be infuriated by all this litter in our local areas.
So, we might want to organise our litter picking event to clear our site of such trash and return it to its natural state. Organising a litter picking event will involve much more planning than we might expect, but worry no more — we have created this simple yet comprehensive, step-by-step guide for you.
This guide of ours will include all you need to know to organise a successful litter picking event involving a small group of five (5) people up to a massive mob of 500.
1. Strategically choose your event’s location
It can be pretty easy to choose the spot you want your litter picking event to take place. Most of the time, people want to organise such a litter pick event to keep daily activities like walking, cycling or driving past this area with the desire for inundated rubbish.
Litter pick events could be in a residential street, a towpath, some woodland, farmland, or a town centre. Possibilities are endless in the search for our ideal location.
2. Get in touch with an already-existing local group, if any
Searching for litter picking groups in your area for your event may not be that challenging at all.
You could ask locals and use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok – for sure, their online presence will be easy to find. Once you get in touch with a group for the area for your litter picking event, go straight to their group leader.
Check for their group’s availability and interest in your proposed litter picking event, given their specific location in mind. Most of the time, they’ll be on board. If so, join their group. On the flip side, if they’re not with you, go ahead and talk directly to the rightful landowners.
3. Have a risk assessment.
Risk assessments may include the following factors:
- Accidents and injuries that can occur when individuals or groups are litter picking;
- Factors related to the location such as trip hazards, busy roads, bodies of water, slippery grass banks, giant hogweed, and items and materials that may be present such as broken glass, spikes, poisons, insecticides, used condoms, syringes, faces, among others;
- Consultations with health and safety experts in knowing what to include exactly in your risk assessment; and
- Sectioning off any areas of concern with stakes and tapes and erecting warning signs nearby before the cleaning-up day itself.
As you carry out this risk assessment, ask someone to note the litter picking route, some break areas, nearby public toilets, where your volunteers can access first aid, and so on.
Mark such strategic points and places and all related information on a map so that you can have them distributed to every volunteer.
Read also: Ways to Reduce Waste and Save the Planet
4. Choose the perfect date before rallying your volunteers
Marking a suitable calendar date for your litter picking is quite crucial. It’s best recommended to do it on a weekend day, maximising the number of volunteers you can have.
Setting themes can also make your event even more enticing to potential volunteers. Try running a contest on the day – the person who collects the most litter in a given amount of time will be declared the winner.
Invite as many people as you can — family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, local groups such as the Scouts or Guides, the list goes on. Put up posters in town (where it’s allowed, of course).
The more, the merrier! However, remember that even a few people can make a difference. So, don’t feel bad or disheartened if you can’t amass a crowd.
5. Gather all the necessary equipment needed
Some places offer free sources of community litter pick kits, so you won’t have to sweat much. These kits usually contain bags, litter pickers, heavy-duty work gloves, and even hi-vis vests at times.
Having the right and complete set of equipment can mean success to your litter picking event. It can be best to contact local authorities in enquiring about such free equipment.
6. Set up the proper waste collection scheme
Organisations, such as your local councils, that supply free litter picking kits often pick up the litter bags once you’ve collected or supplied a skip. Best to coordinate with them to ensure proper waste collection. Always double-check and have alternative arrangements as a Plan B.
Leaving bags of litter that you’ve collected lying anywhere without proper authorisation can be seen as fly-tipping. Communicate with your local recycling centre ahead of time, before the event, if you need to shift the litter bags yourself. Alternatively, a waste management company can also help make the job done.
7. Conduct a briefing with your team before the event
Talking to your volunteers before the event can be very vital. Make sure that everyone on your team knows precisely all necessary information: where’s your meeting, if refreshments are provided, or they need to bring their own, what they can, should and should not wear, and so forth.
This briefing is the best time to remind parents of the utmost supervision needed for children who will attend, being together with a responsible adult at all times.
It is suggested to wear solid and comfortable boots or shoes for the litter picking event, together with warm and waterproof clothing or even sunhats depending on that day’s weather.
8. Do one last briefing on the day itself before the event starts
On the day of your litter pick event, here's a quick checklist of what to tell your entire team about:
- The agreed location and route. Allocate parts of the area to pairs or groups of volunteers if it’s a large area, so they can converse while they work.
- How to properly use the equipment inside the kits.
- The identified health and safety risks included in your risk assessment and precautions in avoiding them.
- Who’s carrying first aid kits or where to find the first aid point.
- Where break areas are situated and where good shelters are for bad weather.
- Where nearest toilets are located.
- Where ‘lost and found’ areas are if you have any.
- Where full rubbish bags are to be placed after the litter picking event.
Remember to have a note made on the map where any dangerous litter can be found, notifying the council or landowners about where such items are located after your event.
Litter picking events are great opportunities to not only get close to different people who're part of your community or share common interests. More importantly, these events can help make a difference in terms of the cleanliness you'll all experience in your community.
Follow our steps or even add a few of your own so the experience can become more personal as you strive towards reducing litter once and for all.
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