Hosting a cleanup is a great way to get involved in your community, and a great way to get your community involved in eco initatives. If you haven’t read my post about finding your local community, make sure to check it out.
Hosting a cleanup can feel pretty daunting, but I’m hoping I can break it down into a few simple steps to get you ready to organize.
1. the basics:
So, of course you have to know the basics. Where are you going to clean and when are you going to clean? Once you’ve nailed down those two basics it’s time to get some help.
You’ll want to plan your cleanup at least two-three months in advance. You’d rather have more time than not enough to get everything ready. Sometimes, when you’re working with the government or other volunteer organizations, things can move slowly.
2. find a partner:
Who’s bringing the supplies?
For the cleanup you will need supplies like pickers, gloves, and trash bags. These are all things that partners can help you with.
Call your public works department. The public works department typically handles illegal dumping which is tied to cleaning up. They can probably point you in the right direction of where to go to rent or borrow things like pickers and gloves.
Also, don’t discount local volunteer groups. You might find there’s a group who specializes in cleaning up areas like a local Keep America Beautiful chapter.
Where’s the trash going?
Most importantly, you need somewhere to put all of the trash! What if you wind up picking up 20 giant trash bags worth of stuff? Where is it all going to go? Who’s going to pick it up and take it?
Call or email your local waste management facility. Typically they have programs specifically designed for these types of events. You can probably arrange a pick up for free.
3. the little details:
What about bathrooms? If you’re cleaning up a park or a beach, there’s probably public bathrooms available. It’s just something you need to keep in mind for your cleanup. If there aren’t any bathrooms nearby, you might need to rent a portapotty.
These people came all the way to help you with your cleanup it’d be really nice to have something to offer them as snacks. It also goes a long way in helping to recruit people coming to your clean-up.
If you think having snacks is a little overboard, you at least need to have a cooler or two full of water. I have one of these* which always comes in super handy! This way people can fill up their water bottles incase they get thirsty.
4. get your group:
Once you have these details worked out, it’s time to advertise your clean-up! Create a flyer for your event containing all of the important details.
- Where’s the event
- What time
- Rain or shine
- Ask people to bring gloves, pickers, and trash bags in case they have them
- Remind them to bring a reusable water bottle
- bring sunscreen, closed toed shoes, etc.
You can share this online in all the usual places like Facebook and Instagram. Share in a neighborhood app like NextDoor. You could also print a flyer or two and post them at popular cafes around town.
You also might want to consider asking if your city would share in the city newsletter or put it on the city website.
Make sure you call your local paper, and send over a press release or copy of the flyer. They could publish an article about your event which would be sure to get more people involved.
Maybe the paper will even send a reporter out to write a story on what a huge success your cleanup was!
Don’t forget to call you local radio station too. There’s a lot of way to get the word out so don’t feel stuck to just online.
Now, no one wants to think about something bad happening, but if it does – you should be covered. In all of the organized clean-ups I’ve participated in you have to sign a waiver.
The waiver protects you incase anything goes wrong. Here’s a sample waiver that’s available on the California State Parks website.
Those are my five tips for hosting a cleanup! I’ve hosted a couple. They’re a ton of fun, but they are a lot of work. Have you hosted a cleanup? Is there anything else that you’d add to the list?