Campaigning to reduce litter and improve water quality in Dorset


Organising a beach clean or litter pick

We’re really pleased that you’re interested in making a difference to your local environment. Keep scrolling to find out all you need to know to organise your own clean-up.

Organising a community clean-up 101

Things to consider…

First steps – organising the details

At least 1 month in advance of your clean

Step 1: Decide location and contact landowner

  • The first step of organising your litter pick will be deciding where you want to carry out your litter pick.
  • Once you’ve decided on your location, get in contact with the landowner to make sure you have legal access to this area, whether you are inland or on the beach.
  • Landowners can be the town, district or county council, farmers, or local estate owners. 
  • If you are unsure who the landowner is for the location you’d like to litter pick, get in touch with the Litter Free Dorset team and we will be able to advise further.

Step 2: Decide the date and time of your clean

  • When deciding the date and time of your clean, make sure to allow ample time for preparation and promotion of your litter pick. 
  • There are a number of factors you will need to consider when choosing a date and time :
    • Make sure you are planning your clean to take place during daylight hours
    • The busyness of the location you plan to pick – if you are planning your clean up in an area that’s particularly busy, aim for a quieter time for the clean
    • If organising a beach clean, we advise you check the tide times and organise for your clean to take place when the tide is on its way out / when it is low tide

Step 3: Recruit a first aider & PLI

  • Litter Free Dorset advise that a First Aider should be present at all clean-up events, whether private or public, i.e. anyone can attend.
  • The First Aider for your clean should not ‘double up’ as the Group Leader unless there are two Group Leaders who are both trained First Aiders.
  • If you are planning to host a public clean-up then you will need to make sure you have Public Liability Insurance (PLI) for your clean.
    • PLI can be organised through your Parish Council, local community group or can be secured through Dorset Council. There is no cost to do this.
    • To be covered by Dorset Council insurance, you must ensure you follow all the guidance, and complete and return the template risk assessment below to Litter Free Dorset by email, along with the details of your pick, and evidence of landowner permission.
  • It is the responsibility of the first aider to record any accident/near miss. Please do make sure to print some copies of the Near Miss Form and send any completed forms to ASAP after your event.  

Step 4: Complete risk assessment

  • Prior to your litter pick you will need to carry out a full risk assessment of the area. Please take a look at our template for litter picks to plan how you can deal with a comprehensive list of hazards. 
  • If you are hosting a public litter pick and would like to be covered under Dorset Council’s Public Liability Insurance, please also see the template risk assessment below, complete and return to the Litter Free Dorset team when enquiring.

Step 5: Equipment and Waste Collection


  • To organise litter picking equipment for your clean-up, please get in touch with Litter Free Dorset by emailing
  • If your clean is a public clean, would like to borrow our equipment and be covered under Dorset Council’s Public Liability Insurance, please do complete the risk assessment above and include this in your enquiry.

Organising removal of materials

  • Please liaise directly with the Dorset Council Waste Services team to organise waste disposal following your litter pick by emailing
  • Please let the team know the date, time and location of your clean and where you intend to leave the waste materials you collect. 

Preparation for your clean

1-2 weeks before

Promoting your clean

If hosting a public clean, once the details have been finalised, landowner permissions have been gained, litter picking equipment organised and arrangements are in place with Dorset Council Waste Services to remove the litter you collect, it’s time to start promoting your clean!

Spread the word!

  • Whether it be word of mouth, advertising clean details on community noticeboards or sharing your upcoming event on social media, it’s a great idea to get the word out about your upcoming clean.

Want to limit numbers?

  • If you want to control the number of people who can attend your clean-up, Litter Free Dorset would recommend creating an Eventbrite for the event. For more information about Eventbrite, click here.
  • Alternatively, if you plan to run regular litter picking events, set yourself up with a litter picking email account, and ask those interested in attending your event to RSVP to your litter picking email address.

Site map

In the lead up to your clean, familiarise yourself with the local area. Make a note of your route and, if possible, identify locations for first aid, toilets, public phones, useful amenities, break areas and so on.

The day of your clean

Stage 1. Before the clean starts

  • Arrive 30 minutes before the event starts with all equipment and paperwork.
  • Wear high vis vests to identify yourselves as Team Leaders and first aiders
  • Walk the clean-up area to check for any additional hazards. If there are any, add them to the risk assessment and consider what you will do to minimise them. If the risk is severe you may want to cancel the event.
  • Read through the whole risk assessment to check you are happy that all measures are in place to minimise risk then sign and date. If not, amend the risk assessment or cancel the event.
  • Organise the beach clean equipment and bags at the meeting point.

Stage 2. As people arrive

  • As people arrive, welcome them to the event, introduce yourselves and check they have booked on the event. Do not hand out equipment at this stage as this ensures no one wanders off and starts before you are ready.
  • Whilst people are arriving check that the volunteers all have the appropriate clothing and footwear, gloves and that there are no unaccompanied under 18 year olds. If not, advise that they cannot take part in the event.
  • At 5 minutes past the start time gather all volunteers and run through the health and safety talk.
  • Once intro/safety talk is complete you can then hand out the equipment, survey sheets and set people off on the beach clean.

Stage 3. While the clean is taking place

  • Your main priority is the safety of the volunteers. You are welcome to take part in clean up yourself but keep an eye on all volunteers to make sure they are following the health and safety instructions and keeping within the safe cleaning area.
  • You should also keep an eye on the meeting point in case any late arrivals come. If they do, follow the full procedure with each asking them to sign in, giving the full health and safety talk and providing them with their protective equipment.

Stage 4. At the end of the clean

  • Thank everyone for attending.
  • Put collected litter in the agreed collection place.

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