OSEA Safety Blog

Fall is a Great Time of Year to Organize a Neighborhood Clean up

Sunday, September 1, 2019 Brenda Griffin

We don’t all have to work in the environmental field to contribute to a cleaner planet. Sometimes, the best way to help the environment is keeping your own neighborhood litter free by organizing a neighborhood clean-up.

Here are some things to consider:

Time of year – yes, spring is great because the weather is breaking and the snow melts revealing all kinds of things that have been buried under the snow. Fall is also a good time because most people are doing leaf raking – so why not combine both activities?

Organizing the crew – these days with neighborhood Facebook Groups and Next Door, it’s easy to get the word out on the details of when, where, start time and what to bring. It’s best to give people plenty of notice as well as provide a rain date.

Bring the kids – a great way to lead by example is to make the cleanup a family affair.

Identify the area to collect trash – having a focused area based on the number of volunteers makes use of the concept, “many hands make light work”. If you have more time and want to conquer more territory, go for it!

Respect volunteers’ time – weekends are precious commodities for busy professionals to limit the time of the project to a few hours so they can enjoy the rest of their day off.

Add some cheer – coffee and donuts, hot dogs and hamburgers, chili and beer - munchies either at the beginning or end of the project can be a nice way to bond with your neighbors and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Have proper equipment – either request volunteers bring their own supplies like trash bags, tongs or pick up sticks, or provide them. Don’t forget the gloves as well as a quick chat on what to do if you encounter any needles. These require great care and are becoming more prevalent so a rigid container and tongs should be handy.

Have a plan for the trash – most municipalities have a household limitation for how much trash can be set out weekly. Call your local DPW ahead of time and ask if they would be willing to do a special pick up at a specific location.

Say thank you - Acknowledge the efforts of your volunteers at the start of the day and as you wrap up. Also thank them publicly on social media – everyone appreciates being appreciated!

Have fun! Being outside, in fresh air, contributing your time to your own neighborhood with the people you share space with is a great way to spend a few hours a few times year

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