If you want to organise a litter pick or beach clean in your area, we can help make it happen. Email engagement@torbay.gov.uk us before you start your planning.

Tools and kit needed

  • litter pickers
  • gloves
  • bin bags
  • broom
  • shovel
  • high-viz vests
  • first aid kit
  • safe disposal for items such as broken glass


  • Contact the site owner first to make sure you have permission to access the area you’re going to pick.
  • Carry out a risk assessment and make a site map with a note of your route. We can help you to do this and provide the relevant forms.
  • Make sure you have the right kit. SWISCo can loan you litter picking equipment. They will also collect rubbish bags at the end of the event. They just need a bit of notice first.
  • You should have public liability insurance in case of accidental damage or injury during the event. If your group doesn't have insurance another group could help you run the event using theirs. Check with your local Community Partnership to see if they can help.

Letting People Know

  • Decide if the clean-up event will be a straightforward litter pick or if you’ll have a theme. Having a theme will make the event more enticing to potential volunteers.
  • You could have a challenge on the day, such as ‘who can collect the most litter in a set amount of time’.
  • Get support from other groups and individuals to make this a community event. This will also help you to reach a wider range of people.
  • Make sure you tell people where and when to meet, what clothes to wear and what to expect.

On the day

  • If you are leading the litter pick or beach clean event, make sure you brief the volunteers. Identify team leaders and make sure everyone knows about:
    • health and safety risks
    • who your first aiders are
    • how to use the equipment
    • the route, timings and so on.
  • Give your volunteers kit and safety equipment, such as gloves. We can help with this if necessary.
  • Try to take photos and share what you are doing on social media. This will raise awareness of the problem and show how the community is working to make a difference.

After the event

  • Report the result and tell people:
    • the amount of rubbish collected (how many bags)
    • how many volunteers you had
    • the total number of hours worked
  • Try to recycle as much of the rubbish as possible. Volunteers might not want to separate out the litter and if the waste is unclean or unsafe it might not be appropriate to do this.

Safety and issues to consider

  • Identify any areas that are not suitable or safe and make sure volunteers know to avoid them.
  • Make sure all volunteers, particularly children, are aware of what not to pick up.
  • Remind volunteers about manual handling. Bin bags can become heavy as rubbish as you collect more.
  • If you find hazards like drug-related litter or fly-tipping, note the location and report it to us.
  • Think about wildlife onsite. Are there likely to be ground-nesting wasps or birds that you might disturb? Don’t remove natural ‘rubbish’ like logs, stones or weeds, as these can be home to flora and fauna.

Beach cleans

Find out more about beach cleans, including the Cleaner Coasts Initiative, on the Harbours website.

Other ways of getting involved

General Advice