Litter Picking

Litter picking can be one of the best and easiest ways to take social action in your area! 


Litter picking can be one of the best and easiest ways to take social action in your area! Younger children will need adult supervision and help with this activity.

Have you noticed in your local park, green space or on your street that there are items that shouldn’t be there? Sometimes people do not dispose of their rubbish properly and it ends up living in our outdoor spaces.

Not only does this make our outdoor spaces look messy, some litter can cause distress to animals and wildlife by taking up space in their habitats and meaning some animals can end up eating human’s litter and we sadly often see ducks, birds, hedgehogs and other animals getting stuck in litter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a big rise in the amount of litter in our public spaces. This is partly due to people wearing and using disposable masks and gloves and not disposing of them properly. We can work together to educate others in why they should dispose of their waste responsibly.

What to do

Before you start get your equipment together. We suggest that everyone taking part uses a tool to pick up anything from the floor. E.g. a litter picker, tongs, a sharp stick etc. You should also wear a pair of gloves to ensure no nasty germs from anyone’s litter gets picked up too! Get together some bin liners and give one to each participant.

Decide where you are going to start and end your pick. It could be a loop around your local park or wood, or down certain streets in your area. If there is a group of you you could split up the park/area on a map and delegate each section to each participant or small group. You could also set yourself challenges such as not stopping until you have filled a whole bag with litter or if you are in a group/household you could see who can collect the most in a set amount of time.

Set off on your route with your bin bag and your tool. Pick up every piece of litter you can find and put it in your bag. Encourage young participants to pick up anything they find but tell them to avoid anything that looks sharp. If you have more than one person on each section or extra bags you could separate the litter you find into what can be recycled (e.g. drink cans, some plastics, paper, cardboard etc.) and things that cannot be recycled (e.g. most plastic, mixed cardboard and plastic that cannot be separated etc.)

How much did you pick up? Did it seem like a lot for the size of the area? Perhaps you need to write to your local council to encourage them to put in more public bins to reduce littering in your local area.

Take it further

Litter picking is great for cleaning up your area however wouldn’t it be better if people just didn’t drop litter in the first place? Check out Anti-Litter poster to put up signs in your home, school and local area to try and educate people to not litter and to use bins provided.

It is great we are starting to have face to face activities again – make sure you and your group stay safe by following our latest guidelines on physical meetings.

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