Ways to make your local park litter free – and keep it that way!
Parks are for everyone and it’s important that they remain that way. One of our most important natural spaces, parks are for the community to gather, enjoy each other’s company, relax, and experience the restorative, healthy benefits of looking at greenery.
We’ve been running litter grants for volunteer groups since 2013, and through the program and its fantastic volunteers, we’ve put together a list of things that have helped our grant recipients change their parks, and make them more people-friendly. With these methods, the litter really stays away!
Litter Loves Company – So Stamp it Out
People are more likely to litter if a space already has litter in it – so pre-empt that lazy but common behaviour with a better example. If you’re taking on a park, encourage your group to love it by holding some litter clean ups.
Make them regular, like a blitz: do pick ups once a week, fortnight, or month, for a few months. Bring your community together by recruiting volunteers (a local runner’s group that uses the park, a scouts or guides group, some generous yoga practictioners who like the space?) and collecting the rubbish from your less-thoughtful neighbours.
As your park becomes more associated with clean space, fewer people will want to spoil it. Less litter will be dropped, and you’ll be rehabilitating not only a park, but also the people who use it. What could be better than that?
Spread the Love – Make the Park a Work of Art
This one is great for your younger community members. Is there a school nearby, or one whose students use the park regularly? Reach out and get them involved in a beautification project. Paint murals on your bins (the colours will attract people to them, and remind them of their use!) or warnings over your drains about where litter might end up. Make a fun day of it and throw a sausage sizzle to celebrate all the artwork and hard work.
You’re highlighting good behaviour and getting people involved in the park’s best interests. For years, children and their families will feel like they are a part of the park, and that pride will encourage cleanliness and good littering behaviour. What a nice way to take care of a dirty problem.
Think About the Bins
Have a look at the bins in your park. Are they in well-lit, well-trafficked areas, or are they placed out of reach of most visitors? Does one bin fill up faster than the others? Would people use that empty one more if it were moved closer to amenities or foothpaths? Consider where your rubbish falls, and what obstacles are stopping people from using bins.
You might need to pick up one and move it to another spot – or maybe you need a few more. But if you give people the support they need to do the right thing, they very often well.
Sometimes an infrastructure refresher is all that’s needed to make serious change – and it’s not too hard to do! We’ve seen grassroots groups time and again get the tick of approval from their local council area to install or move bins. It’s all about working together.