"Host your own Cleanup Guide" can be downloaded here
You are volunteering to pick up trash and garbage, which can be risky. There can absolutely be sharp items such as broken glass, hypodermic needles, metal with sharp edges, wood with nails, etc. You may be climbing on rocks, or working in areas that have holes covered by grass. You are responsible for your own actions and safety, and neithervolunteercleanup.org or the host of this event is liable for any accidents. We really want you to be safe and practice common sense. Always wear appropriate closed toes shoes with good traction, gloves to protect your hands, and sunscreen to prevent sun burn. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. I like to work in pairs and if you aren’t sure about something, ask for another opinion or assistance. If you are bringing kids, teens, or young adults, take the time to educate them on proper safety and lead by example. We need you to stay safe !. By RSVP'ing to an event, you agree that no one else is liable for your actions or any injuries except you.
I am volunteering for a cleanup. What should I bring?
Here is a short list of items I bring with me..
- closed toes shoes or sneakers or water shoes (if you are doing a shoreline cleanup)
- work/dishwashing gloves
- comfortable clothes and a hat
- water in a reusable container (you aren't bringing plastic water bottles to clean up plastic water bottles are you?)
- bucket and trash bags (often provided by your host)
I am hosting a cleanup. How can I make this successful?
1) Location. Get to know local hot-spots where you know you will find lots of trash. I don't clean where the city is supposed to clean - I clean where no one cleans. Since I am all about efficiency, I pick have massive amounts of trash.
2) Make your events repeatable. I have a series of hot spots and I clean them once a month. If you want to host one event per month, clean the same spot (if it needs it). If you want to host more than once per month, pick different spots throughout the month.
3) Pick the right time of the day. Consider temperature, tides, and when you think you can get people out.
4) Know your volunteer audience. If you are inviting families, pick a park or playground that is less dangerous and easier work. If you are hikers, clean up a trail. If you are water enthusiasts, do a shoreline, island, or waterway cleanup.
5) Rally your friends. Let them know you are having a cleanup. Encourage them to participate. Post the event of Facebook, Twitter, etc. Reach out to your groups - whether school, church, or work. You'd be surprised how many people want to get involved, but just need someone to lead it.
6) Help your volunteers be prepared and communicate what the plan is and what they should bring. Give precise location instructions in your initial invite.
7) Many people will be first timers, so make it a positive and rewarding experience for them. Everyone is doing good work that is making a difference - remind them of that. THANK THEM.!.
8) Encourage people to host and lead their own events. We don't need 20 people cleaning up one small park, we need 20 people cleaning up two small parks. Divide and Conquer.
9) Bring extra gloves, trash bags, buckets, water, snacks, and a first aid kit.
10) Take pictures - lots of pictures. Before shots that show the mess. Pictures of volunteers cleaning up the mess. Team photo with the bags and bags of trash collected. Encourage volunteers to post them on Facebook. Tag them. Volunteers can make a huge impact even after the event is finished just by spreading the word and showing people the problem.
11) Document the cleanup. Send the results to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add it to the total count.
- How many bags of trash did you collect?
- How many plastic bottles did you collected?
- How many pounds of trash did you collect?
- What was the oddest thing you found?
12) Communicate with your local Public Works Department to arrange trash pick-ups at the end of the day.
13) Invite your local mayors, commissioners, and city managers to participate. They need to see the problem so they can take action at the local government level. Many like the positive image of them picking up trash, so let them have that photo op. Remember - we are trying to do something bigger here, so if someone gets a little credit while getting publicity, good for everyone.
14) Invite media. Newspapers, TV, and NPR love stories like this. You are pointing out a problem and doing something about it. You are local heros !