Guide to Safe Litter Cleanup

Thank you for lending a hand to beautify our Township! Your participation in our Adopt-a-Program helps to keep our streets, parks, trails, and creeks healthy and clean.

Before you start, don't forget: your safety is our number one priority. Read on for tips to ensure your cleanup is a safe one.

Who is the contact?

Determine a representative from your group to be the contact person.

Role of the contact

The contact person is responsible for submitting all required documentation and serves as the liaison between the township and any volunteers represented. The contact is also responsible for reminding volunteers to use good judgment and safe practice during cleanup activities. The items in this guide should be discussed with the group prior to each cleanup event.

Remember safety first! Under no circumstance is the welfare of a participant to be compromised during cleanup activities.

Walking on streets

  • Work on one side of the street at a time.
  • Start your litter pick up at the opposite end of the road from your adopt-a-street sign.
  • Pick up litter walking against traffic. This ensures all volunteers are facing oncoming traffic and are aware of dangers.
  • Leave garbage bags at each adopt-a-program sign, if possible. If bags are too heavy, leave them at the location where filled.

Volunteer clothing

  • Always wear the safety vests provided
  • Participants should wear suitable footwear – boots or closed-toe shoes
  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Avoid use of headphones or restrictive clothing


  • Keep a cell phone handy or know where the nearest phone is
  • Have transportation available
  • Know the quickest route to the nearest hospital in case of a serious injury

General tips

  • Avoid horseplay while working
  • Prohibit alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Keep an adequate supply of water
  • Report your cleanup activities to your program coordinator as indicted on the cleanup report form. Include significant irregularities and report injuries immediately.

Safety checklist

  1. Discuss the cleanup route. Take note of any areas of concern or potential danger, such as high traffic areas or locations where there is limited vision of approaching traffic.
  2. Supervise minors. Ensure a responsible adult is present to supervise minors.
  3. Prepare your materials. Make sure you have all tools and materials required to complete your task safely and efficiently. Check that your equipment is in good working condition.
  4. Review safety instructions with participants:
    • Watch for cars and other vehicles. Drivers may not expect to see volunteers working; participants should watch for approaching vehicles.
    • Obey traffic regulations. Volunteers should obey all signals and traffic lights and use intersections and marked crosswalks, where available.
    • Handle dangerous refuse carefully. Dangerous refuse such as broken glass or other sharp objects must be handled carefully to avoid injury. Litter pickers are provided for this purpose. It is a good idea to designate one person to pick up dangerous items with a litter picker, especially if children work in your group.
    • Volunteers must not handle hazardous litter. Objects containing corrosive chemicals (e.g. car batteries) or objects that may carry harmful bacteria or disease (e.g. dead animals, syringes, etc.) should not be touched. Flag the location where items are found and contact the program coordinator for proper collection and disposal.
    • Never reach blindly to pick up an item. Use a tool or stick to identify the item before picking it up.
    • Work in pairs or teams. Working in pairs or a team is safer than working alone as it allows volunteers to look out for each other.