Tips for organising a Clean Up

Organising a neighbourhood clean up is a great way to give back to the community and be active guardians for our environment. Community clean ups come in many forms, it could be a litter pick up, tree planting or putting a fresh coat of paint on playground equipment.

Clean Up Week, celebrated annually in September, offers the perfect opportunity to encourage kiatiakitanga (stewardship) and volunteering in our region.  But where do you being?  To help you get started we have pulled together these tips.
  • Choose a location.  Identify a place that needs some TLC, it could be a local playground, your neighbourhood or your local beach.  You may need permission from your local Council if the site is a public place.  If you are considering a roadside clean up, you will need to contact your local Council, as you are likely to need a traffic management plan.
  • Appoint an Event Co-ordinator.  The event co-ordinator (might be you) is the person keeping everything on track before, during and after the event.
  • Appoint a Health and Safety Co-ordinator.  The Safety co-ordinator (might still be you) is a person who will attend the event, is first aid certified, and is prepared to respond to the variety of health emergencies which can happen, from minor cuts and scrapes to heat stroke.
  • Before the event, visit the site. Plan out where you set up the volunteer check-in area, what areas will be tidied, where fill rubbish bags will be placed, and locate the nearest public toilets.
  • Gather supplies.  What will you need on the day?  Can volunteers bring their own equipment? You many need to source: rubbish bags, first aid kit, hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, drinking water, refreshments, buckets, rakes, sunscreen.
  • Organise rubbish and/or recycling removal.  Weeks before your event contact WasteNet Southland, as they are available to help you with your waste plan (and they have a clean up fund, which is for help covering disposal costs).  If you are wanting to collect recyclables these will need to be separated and well washed before they will be accepted for recycling at your local recycling centre.  You will also need to plan for how to handle hazardous waste.
  • Register your event.  Keep New Zealand Beautiful Trust keeps a record of all registered clean up events, and produces an annual report on the amount of litter collected from around Aotearoa.
  • Recruit volunteers.  Begin recruiting efforts a month (or more) before the event to make sure you have enough support.  Ask volunteers to sign up, so you know who is coming.  Not everyone will be able to turn up on the day, consider signing up more than you need.  You can post your event on social media, connect with neighbouring businesses or schools, and tell your family and friends.
  • Stay safe.  On the day of the event, hold a volunteers briefing where you can inform participants of how the event is going to be run including safety advice.
  • Take photos.  Share the success of your event and recognise volunteers for their hard work.
  • Reward your volunteers.  After the event, reward your volunteers with a handwritten note, a certificate, or if the budget allows host a post-clean up BBQ.
You do not need to wait until Clean Up Week to organise a clean up, they can be held at any time of the year.

Have you organised a clean up?  Share you experiences with us @WasteNetSouthland #WasteNet