Every community is different. Some are more rural while others are urban, but all communities could use a little extra help in maintaining cleanliness at some point or another. Hosting a community is a great way to help in this endeavor and is also a great way to get others in the community involved in eco-initiatives. Though serving as ringleader for a community clean-up seems like an impossible undertaking, taking it to step by step will help you get to the end goal of a clean and more economically aware community.
Step One: Logistics
First of all, what and where do you want to clean up? Since you are the boss, this decision and whether or not to ask others for their thoughts is totally up to you. If you want outside opinions, consider creating a poll on social media to see what other people in your community think could use some attention. Once you’ve decided on where to clean up, allow yourself two to three months to get the clean up planned. If getting government or volunteer organizations involved, they could slow down your timeline. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so give yourself time to get everything together.
Step Two: Partner Up
There are supplies involved in a community clean up. Trash bags, garden gloves, and other supplies will be needed. Do a little research into local volunteer groups like Keep America Beautiful chapter that can help with supplies and manpower or call the public works department for a point in the right direction. It also doesn’t hurt to seek sponsorships from local businesses. The local hardware store might be willing to donate a wheelbarrow, and the grocery store might donate trash bags. Getting local businesses involved could also lead to press coverage, which would garner more interest from residents to volunteer with you.
You’ll also need somewhere for all of the trash you find and make to go once the clean-up has ended. Give the local waste management facility a call. Many of them have programs built in for occasions such as yours, and you are likely to receive a free pick up when the work is done.
Step Three: It’s the Little Things
The devil is in the details, and you want to be sure your bases are covered. Think about restroom facilities. If your clean up is at a public park or beach, then you are probably good to go with public bathrooms. However, if you’re cleaning a roadway or other area, then you may need to rent a portapotty.
It’s also important to provide volunteers with water and maybe even some snacks. Load some coolers with ice and water bottles or have a water cooler and let volunteers know to bring their own bottles. If snacks seem out of the budget, try local vendors as sponsors of your snacks. Donations of crackers, fruit snacks, and chips would be great, but it is not necessary to provide snacks. Just make sure your volunteers at least have water.
Something less glamorous but also necessary is a waiver. Cover yourself in case the worst case scenario should happen. Many state park websites have waivers that you can use for this very reason.
Step Four: Get Some Help
You will need to recruit volunteers. Social media outlets and neighborhood apps like NextDoor can help push the message digitally while flyers at local cafes or around the office can add a traditional paper touch. Get the word out and include all of the necessary information.
Where is it?
What time is it?
Happening rain or shine?
Who is the contact for more info?
Ask them to bring gloves, trash bags, and other supplies if they are able, remind volunteers to bring a reusable water bottle with them, sunscreen, closed toed shoes, etc.
Hopefully, this breakdown will help in organizing a great community clean up for you, and it is also recommended to talk to people who have hosted events like this before. There is no better teacher than experience, so feel free to reach out to others for feedback too. Good luck!