How will you carry out your clean up, will it be a straight forward litter pick or a larger event tackling other issues besides litter?
Should refreshments or lunch be provided?
Is there a suitable rally point for the day, familiar to everyone, from where you can start and finish the event?
How will you get rid of the waste at the end of the event?
South Tyneside Council may be able to help with the disposal arrangements (please see above), or the waste can be taken to Middlefields.
Risk assessment and safety
It's important to organise a safe litter pick.
After choosing which site or sites you would like to clean up, you should visit the areas to carry out a risk assessment.
This looks at the possible harms and dangers that your volunteers might run into when carrying out the clean up, for example:
Unlabelled and unmarked cans and canisters, oil drums, poisons, insecticides, broken glass, syringes, condoms etc.
Slips, trips and falls, especially around water, steep banks, muddy holes
Roads, with heavy traffic, or waterways with deep or fast flowing water
If an area has too many risks for you and your team, leave the clearing of the site to the Council and choose another location.
A risk assessment form and guidance notes are available from the Council to help you successfully plan your event.
Keep Britain Tidy have a useful risk assessment template that you can use template risk assessment form.
Tips to keep it safe
Make sure everyone is aware of the potential dangers, such as items they should not be picking up, as identified in your risk assessment.
If you are involving local children, make sure there is a sufficient number of adults to supervise.
Before the litter pick make sure the children understand which items might dangerous and should not pick up. Be aware that some children may not listen to your warnings and so must be supervised, don't let children attempt to pick up heavy or bulky items.
With children try to do no more than an hour litter pick, if only adults are involved, attempt only what is in everyone's capacity and allow for rest.
Make sure people are dressed correctly
Those carrying out voluntary litter picks should make sure they have the appropriate protective clothing and equipment:
Suitable footwear which will protect their feet including sturdy rigid soles (no open toed footwear)
Sturdy gloves that will give protection
Hi-visibility coat or vest which can be seen by members of the public including drivers of vehicles
A set of litter pickers
Suitable clothing to do the task
How to deal with dangerous materials
You may find dangerous items when litter picking. These include, but not limited to:
Discarded syringes / needles or other drug related items - Do not touch these instead contact the Council / South Tyneside Homes on 191 427 7000 or 0300 123 6633 and someone trained in removing these will be sent.
Broken Glass - Only use your litter pickers to remove this and if there is a box or a container which this can be placed into do so - do not place glass in a litter bag
Asbestos or other unknown materials - these should not be moved by volunteers, contact the Council on 0191 427 7000
When drumming up support and volunteers for your clean up, you may want to look to other organisations who would be interested in making an impact on the local environment, such as schools, scouts, environmental groups or churches.
It is a good idea to try and involve as much of the local community as possible, and this can be done by:
Once your day is set for the litter pick, we can help promote your litter pick.
Visit Love South Tyneside and complete the event form. We may even pop along on the day to film the event!
The equipment required for the litter pick can depend on the nature, size and type of your event and the resources available to you.
Generally, the following items will be necessary;
Clean up equipment - such as refuse sacks, litter pickers, gloves, wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels.
Safe containers - make sure you have a suitable container for broken glass or sharp materials which could rip plastic bags.
First Aid - make sure you have a trained first-aider on site with the appropriate equipment. Let your volunteers know who the first-aider is and where they can be found during the event. For larger events you may consider asking organisations such as St John Ambulance to provide help.
Rubbish removal - have available a skip or other means of removal for the rubbish you have collected.
Means of communication - make sure you can stay in contact with your volunteers
Protective clothing and equipment - your risk assessment will help you decide what safety equipment you need such as heavy duty gloves and high visibility clothing.
The Council may be able to provide some of this equipment.
If you are working on parks, in the country, in open spaces or in woodland, avoid disturbing animals and plants, particularly during nesting season.
Keep gates closed and avoid clearing natural 'rubbish' like stones, logs and weeds, they may look untidy but they may be home to animals and birds.