Clean it Up

Picking up the planet can start right on your street. Here's how to organize your own neighborhood cleanup!



Photograph by Wavebreakmedia Ltd, Dreamstime


Make sure to WEAR GLOVES while you pick up to avoid contact with any hazardous material and never pick up SHARP, RUSTY, or HEAVY items. Spot something potentially dangerous? Make a note of its location and tell an adult.

Clean it up 1

Pick a location

Is there a local road that’s covered in rubbish? Or a nearby beach just swimming in litter? Select a spot that really needs some extra attention.

Clean it up 2

Get permission

Share your plan with your family. They may have ideas for how you can go about organizing your efforts or getting the word out about your event.

Clean it up 3

Save the date

Look at your family’s calendar and find a free Saturday or Sunday within the next couple of months. You’ll want to give yourself at least a few weeks to prepare and give notice to your neighbors. Don’t forget to set a rain date in the event of bad weather.

Clean it up 4

Get the info out

Put out signs or hang flyers with the date, location, and time of your cleanup around your neighborhood. Ask a parent to share the info on your neighborhood newsletter or on their social media page. Be sure to have volunteers RSVP to you (or a parent) with their e-mail address for quick correspondence later on.

Clean it up 5

Ask for donations

Go to nearby businesses and ask if they can donate to your cause. The hardware store may offer garbage bags, gloves, or tools; your local bakery may donate bagels and other snacks for the morning of the event. Your community waste-management organization may also offer supplies and other types of support.

Clean it up 6

Give a heads-up

Once you have a list of volunteers, send a brief e-mail reminding them of the date and time with details on where to meet.

Clean it up 7

Share your work

On cleanup day, be sure to take plenty of pictures (or have a friend snap some) to post online or include in an upcoming community newsletter. (Pssst: Your school or teacher would probably love to see some pics too!)

Clean it up 8

Show appreciation

When the last piece of trash is all picked up? Give a giant thanks to your cleaning crew. Send out a recap e-mail detailing things like how many bags of trash you hauled away and the number of volunteers you had. Then start planning your next cleanup event!

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