If, like me, you're really uncomfortable with the sight of litter in our beautiful part of the country then organising a litter pick could be for you!
Back in March 2020 there were a staggering 680,000 volunteers for the Great British Spring Clean. However, the priority is now to everyone's safety around Covid-19, this has meant that groups have been limited to groups of 6 people. So how exactly do you go about organising a Clean up?
1. REGISTERING YOUR CLEAN UP AND REPORTING THE RESULTS
Sign up and create a dashboard
Visit keepbritaintidy.org to sign up to organise a clean-up. Once registered, you can log in to your personalised dashboard where you will be able to add your clean-ups, access exclusive content and resources, and record your results. You’ll also receive emails from us about relevant Great British September Clean news, resources and more to help you with your clean-up (you can unsubscribe at any time).
Add your clean-up
Visit your dashboard to add your clean-up. You can list as many as you like. To ensure the safety of all volunteers, clean-ups must be registered as private events with a maximum of five other participants (subject to change in line with Government guidance on the maximum number of people who can meet in a public place). There will be no option to join or host a public clean-up event. Please directly invite volunteers to your clean-up event to ensure you know exactly who will turn up on the day and to keep numbers within limits set by Government guidance.
Report your results
After your clean-up, we’d like you to return to your dashboard and report on the results of your clean-ups. We’re counting:
How many people took part
How many minutes you picked up litter for
How many bags of litter were collected and
What type of litter was collected (including how many bags of plastic bottles, aluminium cans or general waste you collected)
2. FINDING A LOCATION
First of all, you need to decide where you’d like to clean up. Have yo noticed somewhere that needs a little attention? Think about where the litter hot spots are in your community, could it be near fast food shops or a hedge row that is regularly used as a bin instead of a shelter for wildlife? This is your chance to make a difference and bring your community together.
Depending on who owns the land, you may need permission to carry out the clean-up. If you’re cleaning up council-owned land, it’s particularly important that you ask for permission well in advance of the clean-up, as the process for approval can take some time.
Covid-19 Guidance: As summer approaches, be aware that certain areas could be very busy so you may want to consider the timing of clean-ups e.g. in the evening and avoiding weekend times. Timing your clean-up appropriately will help you avoid ‘pinchpoints’ and remain socially distanced at all times. Got it all mapped out? Why not sketch a map of the area you’re going to tackle? Make a note of where litter or skip collection points are, as well as any useful amenities. You might also want to identify a ‘lost and found’ and a ‘first aid’ point and, just in case the weather’s bad, your volunteers would definitely appreciate it if you marked an area suitable for them to shelter.
3. PROMOTING YOUR CLEAN-UP
You may already know some #LitterHeroes in your community, or you may have friends and family who are passionate about improving the environment on their doorstep. While you can’t encourage people to join you on your clean-up you could let the world know what you’re doing through your social media and encourage others to pledge or even organise their own clean-up. You could also let the local press and your MP know what you’re doing and encourage them to support the campaign as well.
4. EQUIPMENT, COLLECTION AND RECYCLING
You’ll need the right equipment to help you successfully and safely complete a clean-up. We will be asking our #LitterHeroes again to separate the items they collect into three bags so as much as possible can be recycled:
1. Plastic bottles
2. Aluminium cans
3. General waste
It’s important that your volunteers can be seen easily by other pedestrians and road users. High-visibility vests must be used where volunteers may be litter-picking on a pavement beside the road. They also help the group feel like a team. Your local council recycling officer may be able to loan you the equipment you need. Kent County Council have distributed litter picking kits to local councils, details can be found here
Why not check if any of your volunteers can provide their own equipment before trying to source it from elsewhere?
Covid-19 Guidance: If you are providing volunteers with equipment, please ensure all equipment is appropriately sanitised before and after the clean-up event. We would recommend volunteers keep hold of this kit for the foreseeable future, rather than return it after each use so that only they use it.
5. HEALTH AND SAFETY
Having chosen a place for your clean-up, visit the site and carry out a full assessment of the risks. You can find a template showing the type of thing you need to be looking for on your dashboard. It’s important you consider all of the possible risks to you and your volunteers. Look for the following hazards when assessing your site:
Unidentified cans or canisters, oil drums, poisons, insecticides, clinical waste, other hazardous substances, broken glass, condoms, syringes, etc.
Deep or fast-flowing water, currents or tides, steep, slippery or unstable banks, sharp rocks, mud holes, derelict buildings, busy roads, electric fences (which are identified by yellow warning signs) and so on. Covid-19 Guidance: To ensure the safety of all volunteers, all those taking part must:
Observe social distancing, particularly at start and end of event when the group is congregated during the safety briefing, which should be held outside.
Bring personal hand sanitiser and appropriate PPE.
Wear heavy duty, protective gloves at all times
Cover any cuts (however minor) with surgical tape or waterproof plaster.
Keep hands away from mouth, nose and eyes at all times.
Wash hands and forearms thoroughly before eating, drinking, smoking or going to the toilet.
Further measures taken by the group leader should include:
Sanitising returned equipment.
Signing all participants in themselves, rather than sharing a pen and paper.
Providing spare gloves which people can take home.
Sharing guidance with volunteers ahead of the clean-up. Heavy lifting
Lifting heavy items could be hazardous. Volunteers should be discouraged from lifting large or heavy items
Once large or heavy items have been identified, consider whether it’s practical for volunteers to remove them, or whether they would be best removed by the local council
If you decide the item can be lifted by volunteers, this should be done at the end of the clean-up through a separate and co-ordinated effort.
It’s good practice to tie rope to large objects or use a grappling hook if a large object needs to be lifted. Dangerous items Make sure everyone is aware of potentially dangerous items that they should not pick up. If dangerous, poisonous or hazardous items are present, contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. If syringes are spotted at any stage during your clean-up, do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform your local council. If you see someone fly tipping or come across hazardous waste, report it to the Environment Agency on its 24-hour hotline or, alternatively, contact the police. Brought to you by In partnership with Headline partners Supporting partners 10 General awareness
Brief all volunteers on the area you’ll be cleaning and any hazards
Make sure that any no-go areas are clearly outlined
Volunteers should not pick in the carriageway of a road and remain on pavements at all times.
Check that volunteers are wearing any safety equipment e.g. high-visibility vests
6. PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE
It’s not compulsory to have insurance in place for your group before participating in the Great British September Clean, but it is good practice to have insurance cover for your group. Insurance protects the group and group leader should a volunteer make a claim for an injury sustained while volunteering. Setting up a policy for an individual group will require payment of a fee to an insurance company and this may be beyond the reach of some groups. In this instance, alternatives include checking whether your local Parish, Town or District Council can provide insurance. If you’re volunteering as part of a faith group or as a member of a charitable organisation, its existing public liability insurance may provide cover for your activity.
7. WORKING WITH CHILDREN
It is important to make sure children are accompanied by a responsible adult when taking part in a clean-up. In the case of young children we advise a ratio of no more than four children to one adult. Before your clean-up, make sure children understand which items are potentially dangerous and should not be picked up.
Teach children that if they are in any doubt they should ask a grown up before picking the litter up.
It’s important that children are provided with gloves and wear suitable clothing and footwear. Don’t let children pick for more than one hour at a time.
If only adults are involved, attempt only what is within everyone’s capabilities and allow for rest breaks. Two to three hours of litter-picking is usually enough.
For more information about safeguarding children please see our safeguarding policy keepbritaintidy.org/keep-britain-tidy-safeguarding-policy
8. SPREADING THE WORD AND REPORTING THE RESULTS
Keep Britain Tidy want to know how it makes you feel to see litter on your streets, beaches, and parks. We want to know how much you collected and how many people are standing up and saying – no more! They want to tell everyone about it; the media, big businesses and the government, so they can continue to pursue and influence change.
So please, after every clean-up, return to your dashboard on the Keep Britain Tidy keepbritaintidy.org to record your results. The Great British September Clean is all about encouraging new people to be part of the pick and for people to consider it normal to pick up litter as part of their daily routine. So, share your pictures on social media as widely as possible using the hashtag #GBSeptemberClean and help us trend this very important topic.