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How to organise an effective cleanup event

Last weekend was World Cleanup Day, the biggest-ever single day of volunteer-based waste collection efforts, and Method was at Wellington Waterfront to lend a hand.

After organising over 699 events in 2017, this year Keep New Zealand Beautiful exceeded its previous record of 48,000 volunteers taking part. Their CEO, Heather Saunderson, says “Clean Up Week is the opportunity for everyday Kiwis to take part and help keep their local community beautiful. Each year Clean Up Week becomes bigger and better.”

We were impressed to see locals showing up to make a visible difference. While cleanups are not an antidote to the problem of plastic pollution, they are a valuable step in the direction of reversing its devastating effects.

But how can we ensure this environmental focus lasts on beyond World Cleanup Day? Here are five aspects to consider when organising your own initiative.

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Choose your location

Whether it’s land or shore, decide where you’d like to hold your cleanup. If it’s private property, ensure you have the permission before organising your event.

Choose a leader and a sponsor

Who can you delegate as the project coordinator? Your leader should be someone who can take charge, be focused, and ensure your cleanup works productively. If possible, try to work with a sponsor who may be able to help you with the costs and materials needed for the event.

Publicise your event and find volunteers ahead of time

Can you post about your event on social media? Find the most creative and effective way to you can inform and engage your community to your cause. Perhaps you could even connect with local schools or businesses who may be eager to take part in a sustainability drive for their own public image. Ensure to use photography of where you will be having your cleanup so those who you’re reaching out to can instantly see where they’ll be heading to.

Organise waste removal/ recycling methods

How will you collect and dispose of the waste you clean up? Weeks before your event, speak to your local waste service provider to see if they can collaborate with you on a waste plan. Have recycling stations ready to make it easy for volunteers to recycle what they find, if possible, to help divert more waste from landfill.

Document your event

It’s incredibly important to take photographs during your event, as this will help you promote your cause. By capturing your community drive effectively, you can enhance interest for ongoing events in years to come. Speak to your volunteers about what’s worked and what hasn’t; sourcing quotes from them will give a personal element to the social media posts, blogs, or newsletters you publish about your cleanup.

Have you organised an effective cleanup? Share your experiences with us @MethodRecycling.

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