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  • just1bag2020

Clean up safely!

We love that you're ready to take action and get involved cleaning up your local area.

Before starting we just wanted to highlight a few things that can help a litter pick run smoothly and safely. Below you'll see details about disposal of litter and health and safety.

Above all else we recommend common sense. You don't have to clean up everything. Do what you feel comfortable and encourage others in your group to do the same. If it's broken or looks dangerous just leave it (or report it to your local town/council).


Every town/district has different preferences around what should be done with the litter you collect. If you can, contact your town and ask what you should do with the litter once collected.

If possible, separating the litter into recyclables is a great way to help turn the litter into new resources. The main recyclable items are:

  1. Plastic bottles.

  2. Aluminium cans.

  3. Glass bottles (remember don't pick up with your bare hands if broken).


It is important that everyone thinks about safety and understands how to keep themselves safe.

We recommend that you avoid:

  • Potentially hazardous objects such as unidentified cans or canisters, oil drums and chemical containers.

  • Sharp objects such as broken glass and disposable BBQs – these should be collected in separate containers not litter bags.

  • Clinical waste such as needles/syringes – do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform your local town authority.

  • Hazardous areas such as deep or fast-flowing water, steep, slippery or unstable banks, sharp rocks, derelict buildings, busy roads and electric fences (which are identified by yellow warning signs).

  • Working alone – try to stay in sight and earshot of others but if not possible then let someone know where you’ve gone and when to expect you back.

To avoid illness from poor hygiene, all those taking part in the clean-up must:

  • Wear heavy-duty, protective gloves at all times.

  • Cover any cuts (however minor) with surgical tape or a waterproof plaster.

  • Keep hands away from mouth and eyes while litter-picking.

  • Wash hands and forearms as soon as your litter pick is over.


Lifting heavy items could be hazardous. Consider whether it’s practical for volunteers to remove them, or whether they would be best removed by the local council.


If dangerous, poisonous or hazardous items are present, contact the Environment Agency of your country.

If syringes are spotted at any stage during your clean-up, do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform your local town department.

If you see someone fly tipping or come across hazardous waste, report it to the Environment Agency (if you're in the UK) on its 24-hour hotline or, alternatively, contact the police.


Before going onto any land, make sure that you have permission from the land owner. If you are attending an organised clean-up, your host should have done this in advance.


Children should be accompanied by a responsible adult when taking part in a clean-up.

Before your clean-up, make sure children understand which items are potentially dangerous and should not be picked up. Teach children that if they are in any doubt they should ask a grown up before picking the litter up.

It’s important that children are provided with gloves and wear suitable clothing and footwear.


Make sure you let us know how you get on and share your efforts on social media tagging @just1bag2020 or #just1bag2020

Just1bag2020 is a US registered 501(c)3 non profit. We do not accept any liability for any injuries or damage caused during a group organised clean up.

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