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Taking Care of Trash in the Community

Updated on January 31, 2014

Trash can cause many problems in any community. It can lower property values, harm the environment and even cause injuries or accidents. Keeping a community clean is not something that can be done by just one person. It requires the involvement of everyone in the neighborhood. There are several ways a community can come together to take care of trash.

Organize Regular Meetings

The first step should be to organize regular meetings in the community every week or month. This will bring out concerned people who can provide insight into the issues and conditions in the community leading to problems with trash. Meetings also provide a good way to start organizing individual groups for different parts of the neighborhood. They can be used to develop plans for action.


Hold Competitions

Cleaning up an entire community sometimes requires a little encouragement. An idea is to hold competitions that get people out and taking care of trash. A prize could be given to the person or group who picks up the most trash by weight in an hour. Another competition could give rewards to the people who clean up an area the fastest. The prizes could be anything from a gift card to a trophy. Competitions will bring the community out and increase awareness of the trash on the streets.

Work With Local Officials

Some trash problems are best addressed by working with politicians and other officials in the community. These individuals have the power to enact new ordinances against littering. They can also work to improve trash pickup or to hire new people to deal with litter. An organized group of citizens can often get the attention of local officials very easily through letter writing campaigns or demonstrations.


Schedule Cleaning Days

A tactic that has been successful in some communities is to schedule cleaning days for the neighborhood. These days are advertised through newspapers, flyers or on local media outlets. Cleaning days ask community members to come out for an hour or two on a weekend to simply walk down the street outside the home and pick up any trash. Holding one of these events every few months can bring the community together and reduce trash in the neighborhood.


Provide A Place for Trash

Many people litter because there is nowhere to put trash. Providing bins for trash can reduce the amount of litter on the ground and in parks. Renting skip bins for the community can provide a communal place for all types of waste so it does not end up on the street or in green spaces. Providing free bins to residents can encourage recycling. Asking local businesses to place bins outside storefronts can keep the crowded areas of the neighborhood cleaner. People are far less likely to litter if there are skip bins or recycling containers throughout the area.

Beautify the Neighborhood

Another major reason that some people litter or dump trash in a park is because there is no ownership of the community. These individuals feel the area is already dirty and do not see a need to make any effort to keep it clean. A way to change this perception is to beautify the neighborhood. This can involve taking care of green spaces along sidewalks so they are healthy and attractive. It could mean planting a garden, pruning local trees or even removing graffiti from the walls of buildings. Beautifying the neighborhood makes trash and litter stand out more. This can discourage people from littering and promote community ownership.


Hang Signs in Problem Areas

A small reminder is sometimes enough to stop a person from throwing trash on the ground or dumping household waste in the community. Creating colorful and informative signs can provide this little reminder. Placing signs in the community around problem areas where trash often appears can make anyone think twice before littering. The signs can even point people in the direction of the nearest trash bin.

Talk To Local Businesses

Local businesses often have the resources and the interest to help fight the trash problems in the community. These businesses are usually interested in helping because community involvement reflects positively on the company and the brand. A local business could help to maintain the area just outside an office building or storefront. They might be able to use existing marketing channels to promote a cleaner community and increase involvement. It is always worthwhile to ask.

Educate the Community

Educating the community about all the problems trash causes can be a very effective way to take care of the issue. Distributing flyers, creating a website or asking to speak at local events and schools can all provide a platform to educate the community about trash and waste. Education about the environmental, health, economic and social impacts can make more people interested in keeping the community clean.


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