Is your neighbourhood a bit messy? Maybe things have just been a bit busier than usual, or you had a street party, or (and you’re allowed to say it) the students have just vacated the area for the summer and left it in a right old state!
Well, have you ever thought about organising a litter pick event? Come on now, we may sound like a bunch of squares, but it can actually be a really good laugh! Just think of the benefits:
1) Fresh air and sunshine (make sure it’s planned for a nice day).
2) Makes an excellent community event.
3) Interact and meet new people.
4) A chance to not only clean up, but also make sure that the litter is recycled.
5) Your neighbourhood will look brand spanking new!
6) You can also use it to make people see how great you are, such as in interviews or at dinner parties: “Yah, yah. I organise litter picks, it’s no biggie.”
So yeah, do your street, city and country proud by rallying the troops and picking up as much rubbish as possible. However, before you do, thoroughly go through this checklist to ensure safety and efficiency:
1) Do you have legal access to the land? If you want to pick rubbish from other people’s gardens, council areas and other places such as farms, get permission first.
2) Carry out a risk assessment beforehand. Are there any places where people may slip or fall, snag themselves on something sharp, or is there medical/human waste that needs to be professionally removed first?
3) Make a map. That’s right, a ruddy map! Print them off for people so that they know where amenities are, such as toilets, refreshments and so on. Or if you’re just doing a small litter pick, make sure people know where the boundaries lie, otherwise they may go roaming miles away!
4) When will it be held? Weekends usually work best, especially Sundays as more people are available and there’s less traffic. Plus it’s a fun and feel-good event for people to take part in before another week at work.
5) Spread the word! Whether that’s by knocking on doors, distributing leaflets and posters, or even taking advantage of the local press, radio and social media, you can get loads of people involved! They don’t even have to be from your neighbourhood, some may just want to help out.
6) What equipment do you need? Gloves and heavy duty bin bags are a must, and you might need wheelbarrows too. High-visibility vests are also handy. Contact your local council to see if they can help by providing litter-picking gadgets. You may even be able to get a free skip from a company that wants to help the community if you think the job warrants one. Heck, in return for some publicity and their logo on a flyer, a local hardware store or supermarket may even give you free bin bags!
7) On the day, make sure that all volunteers know what to do. It’s not rocket science, but the clearer the communication, the better the event.
8) Make sure that all volunteers are careful not to disturb or damage natural habitats. Birds, butterflies, household cats, sleeping water voles – you never know what might be hiding in tall grass, trees or bushes.
9) Try to get some media coverage out of it. Even if you’ve already been in the paper or on the radio to promote it, chances are they’ll do a follow-up piece. This isn’t just to make you feel proud, it could inspire others to organise their own litter pick event.
10) Most importantly, make sure everyone has loads of fun!