Community Spring Clean
National Spring Clean is Ireland’s most popular, well recognized and successful anti-litter and waste initiative. It takes place during April each year. The campaign encourages all sector of society to actively participate and take responsibility for litter and waste.
National Spring Clean has been operated by An Taisce since 1999 in partnership with the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government and Local Authorities and is sponsored by the Wrigley Company Ltd. and Repak Ltd. The size and scale of National Spring Clean has grown steadily and significantly over the years and has many benefits for people taking part
Local area cleanups are usually organised by resident associations and tidy town groups and can also involved others some of which include:
- Local Organisations e.g. Recycle IT or Recycling Centres
- Local Authorities e.g. South Dublin County Council
- Schools, Community Colleges, Universities and Environmental Groups.
- Youth Groups e,g, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides or Foróige
- Community Service Initiative e.g. Tus.
- General Public.
With April 2016 fast approaching Recycle IT have assembled some tips for organising a successful National Spring Clean event in your area!
- You will need time to organise your event. Start planning at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Spring is the best time to do a cleanup – before grass and weeds have a chance to hide rubbish and litter and make retrieval more difficult.
- When you select a day or weekend for the cleanup, check with local community organisations and the local authority in your area to avoid any event conflicts.
- Arrange for collection and disposal of the waste collected.
- A good plan will help your group set a direction and document the steps you need to take to organise the spring cleanup. Using an existing neighborhood cleanup committee or forming a new group is a great way to get things done efficiently and build ownership at the same time.
- Use a Clean Up notebook to record names, numbers emails, dates and other important information. Its good to document everything and maintain a cleanup file including photos. This can be used for grant applications and PR.
- Determine your “cleanup area” to get an idea of the support you will need. Use a map to coordinate teams and pickup routes. Records litter black spots and any situations needing special tools or equipment to get the job done.
- Estimate of the number of volunteers, assign tasks and a develop a schedule.
- Remember letters work well, but personal contact is the best way to build your team and secure the needed resources for the job. If you do not know your neighbors, now is a good time to meet them. Introduce yourself and tell them what you would like to do. Do not ask for a commitment — that will come later — just get a feel for the support you have.
- There may be groups within your community that regularly organize community projects. Consider partnering with these or other groups, even if they are not in your area.
- Businesses, and you local authority take pride in their communities. Ask them to help with this community effort by donating items or funding to support the event.
- Have an event photographer so you have photos for newsletter articles, annual reports, Web page projects, promotional flyers, etc.
- Consider creating a promotional flyer to distribute at local business and organisations.
- Specify what will be or will not be accepted; provide options for those items.
- Inform residents about the pickup times. Specify the cleanup will occur regardless of the weather.
- Include your event parish local authority and community newsletters, on websites, local community radio and newspapers. Invite the media to do a story on your cleanup — this is recognition of volunteers, donors or sponsors.
Before you start, gather everyone together to review the event and answer questions. Have a cleanup plan with a start and finish point in an estate or street with groups starting at both ends and working towards the middle. Spread volunteers out so they have plenty to do while having fun.
- Register interested parties.
- Ensure everyone is aware of safety requirements and areas to avoid.
- Make sure children are safe and supervised by adults.
- Answer questions on collection and removal.
- Have brochures and coupons available on how to dispose of items you cannot accept (WEEE, batteries, hazardous waste, tires, oil, etc.).
- Make sure plenty of water, mobile phones and a first aid kit on-site.
- Keep details for emergency service at hand.
- Keep a positive attitude. don’t get overwhelmed and avoid overwork – you can do more another day!
Some of the typical cleanup needs include:
- Bin bags
- Safety signs and general safety
- Buckets for sharp objects
- Tools (ropes, rakes, shovels, etc.)
- Trees/wildflower/grass seeds
- Hi-Vis Safety Vests
- First Aid Kit
- List of mobile phone numbers
- After clean up event e.g. BBQ or picnic
Take every opportunity to mention the support of your volunteers, especially when talking to the media. You should write thank you letters to key community groups and local businesses/donors. Provide copies of photos for their archives.
Record what worked well and what didn’t. This means you do not have to reinvent the wheel this time next year! This information will be important for new and future members of the cleanup group.
If you would like to include a community electrical and electronic recycling collection as part of your local spring clean please call Recycle IT on 01 4578321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Recycle IT work with WEEE Ireland to support community recycling.