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How to Host a Community Clean Up!

Eco Activism

Last Updated on July 21, 2022

Hosting a community clean up is a great way to get involved in your area and a great way to get your community involved in eco initiatives.

Taking pride in where you live not only helps the environment, but it feels good to be part of volunteer service. Taking charge of a community cleaning project will naturally help your area, but it’s also a way to encourage others to get involved. We’ll teach you how to go about hosting an environmental cleanup.

hosting a volunteer cleanup

Community Clean Up

Hosting a volunteer 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 an event. 

If you haven’t read my post about finding your local community, make sure to check it out. 

why host an environmental cleanup

There are many reasons to jump in and get involved in a volunteer cleanup. Here are a few common reasons:

  • A community cleaning project will benefit your local ecosystem.
  • It’s better for our beautiful Earth.
  • It feels good to be part of such a great project.
  • You may spark a desire to go zero waste in others.
  • You’ll be impacting and encouraging your community members, both young and old to do better.

1. location of the community cleanup: 

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 volunteer cleanup at least two to 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. This is normal, and even though it sort of stinks, it’s better to plan ahead so you can avoid the stress of last minute projects.

2. find a partner: 

Who’s bringing the supplies?

For the community 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 that 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. volunteer cleanup small details:


What about bathrooms? If you’re cleaning up a park or a beach, there are probably public bathrooms available. It’s just something you need to keep in mind for your community cleaning project. If there aren’t any bathrooms nearby, you might need to rent a porta potty. 


These people came all the way to help you with your community clean up, so it’d be really nice to have something to offer them as snacks. It also goes a long way in helping to recruit people to come to your clean-up. Some good snacks would be:

  • Fresh fruits – berries, bananas, apples, oranges, etc.
  • Vegetables – carrots, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, etc.
  • Yogurt
  • Granola bars
  • Pastries – muffins, rolls, or donuts

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 in case they get thirsty during the community cleanup. 

4. find your community cleaning crew: 

Once you have these details worked out, it’s time to advertise your environmental cleanup! 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 your local radio station too. There are many ways to get the word out, so don’t feel stuck to just online. 

Check with local civic organizations, schools, and your chamber of commerce for people who are looking for volunteer projects.

5. waivers: 

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 in case 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 community clean up! I’ve hosted a couple, and 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? 

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  1. Good lord, you have to sign waivers in America to clean up a park? In Bermuda we just show up. Would people actually sue, I mean how can the organiser be held responsible? Weird.

    Love the post! Keep them coming!

  2. What’s your view on recycling the stuff collected in the clean up? Is it too contaminated and has to go to landfill? It’s one thing getting people to help on a clean up but somehow I doubt those same people are as into cleaning the stuff collected to recycle..