Covid guidance for safe litter-picking

Litter Free Dorset has created this guidance to support all our volunteers and community litter-picking groups, to enable litter-picking to continue in and around Dorset, as safely as possible, during the current pandemic.

Based on the most up to date guidance from the government for meeting with people outside of your household, litter-picking can take place individually, as pairs or as small groups of up to a maximum of six people, including yourself.

Option 1: Lone litter-picking and picking in pairs

If you are currently shielding, in ‘at risk’ groups, displaying symptoms, or have been directly advised to self-isolate, please do not litter-pick.

Guidance for lending out equipment to litter picking volunteers:

  • Supply volunteers with litter-pickers and hi-vis jackets. Please ask volunteers to use their own sturdy gloves (preferable reusable).

  • If possible, volunteers should borrow equipment long-term so only they use it (kit isn’t being returned after each use)

  • When distributing equipment, please leave litter-pickers outside your property with a bottle of anti-bacterial spray. Organise individual collection times, so that you can keep track of who has collected equipment.

  • Please ask volunteers to sanitise the litter-picker (especially the handle) when collecting and returning.

  • Please direct volunteers to our Covid-guidance before litter picking.

Guidance for individual and pair litter-picking:

  • Let someone know where you are going and keep in mobile contact

  • Use gloves (preferably reusable) and a litter picker. Clean both after use.

  • Wash your hands before and after litter-picking (for at least 20 seconds!) and use hand sanitiser if gloves are removed during the pick

  • Remember to social distance – maintain at least one metre from the public and your co-picker (unless they are a member of your household)

  • Do not pick up sharp objects/needles

  • Collected litter should be tied up in strong waste bags before being appropriately disposed of

  • Unless arrangements have been made with the Dorset Council Waste Services team to collect your full rubbish bags, don’t pick more than you can put in your own bin at home

Option 2: Small groups (up to 6 participants)

If you are currently shielding, in ‘at risk’ groups, displaying symptoms, or have been directly advised to self-isolate, please do not litter-pick.

Guidance for organisers: 

  • Please check whether Dorset Council Waste Services can pick up the collected litter. If they can’t, only litter pick as an individual or pair, and responsibly dispose of the litter yourself.

  • Directly invite volunteers to clean-ups, and keep track of who is attending, to keep numbers within the Government guidance.

  • Plan the timing of clean ups to avoid busy times of day and particularly busy areas.

  • At the outdoor safety briefing, the leader should check everyone has their own gloves.

  • Maintain social distancing during the clean (including when distributing equipment and during the safety briefing) and avoid ‘pinchpoints’ where lots of people congregate.

  • Ensure volunteers wash hands before & after the pick, and after touching shared surfaces.

  • Provide hand sanitiser or ask volunteers to bring their own.

  • Equipment returned at the end of the litter-pick should be sanitised.

  • For first aid guidance, please see current advice from St. John Ambulance

  • Share the guidance with attending volunteers prior to the clean-up

Guidance for litter pickers:

  • Bring and use your own sturdy gloves (preferably reusable). Clean after use.

  • Wash your hands before and after litter-picking (for at least 20 seconds!) and use hand sanitiser if you take off your gloves during your litter-pick

  • Remember to social distance – maintain at least one metre from members of the public and the other volunteers (unless they are members of your household)

  • Do not pick up sharp objects/syringes

  • Collected litter should be tied up in strong waste bags

  • If using your own litter-picker, please sanitise after the litter-pick, before storing.