We don’t quite know why people litter… but they do. Since 2016, with the help of thousands of volunteers, we have removed over 135,000 lbs of litter from nature! That’s a lot of plastic water bottles, food wrappers, random articles of clothing, and cigarette butts.
If you didn’t know already, we have an ambassador program for individuals all over the world who have a collective goal of making the world a better place. We call them Wild Keepers and they commit to achieving our goal by getting outside, cleaning up any litter they find, and sharing it on social media.
Along with our Wild Keepers program, we also host wilderness cleanups! With the help of generous volunteers, we pick a park or stretch of land that needs love and work together to leave it trash-free.
Whether you are a Wild Keeper, a Cleanup Volunteer, or simply looking to give back to nature by leaving it better, here are some practices to keep you safe while cleaning up.
Use The Buddy System
Not only is it more fun to enjoy the great outdoors with your friends and family, it’s also safer. Going out by yourself can be a great escape from everyday cares of the world, but a solo emergency situation is not so great. The buddy system is a common practice where two people, the “buddies,” operate together as a two-person team.
In the case of removing litter from nature, when you go out with a buddy, you can pick up twice as much trash! Plus, your buddy will be there if there is an emergency situation or if you need someone to take your #ImpactDay picture!
Don't Pick Up Anything Sketchy
Between our team, our Wild Keepers, and our volunteers, we have found some weird things while cleaning up. Though we would like to pick up everything we find, it is important to remember that your safety is always the #1 priority! If you find something on your cleanup that you don’t feel comfortable picking up -- don’t do it!
Found something dead? Don’t pick it up. Found drug paraphernalia? Don’t pick it up. Found something that makes you think twice before touching it? Don’t pick it up.
Instead, we recommend alerting any park rangers or officials in the area.
On a slightly different note, broken glass is one of the most commonly found items at our cleanups and by our Wild Keepers. If you are going to pick up broken glass, or anything else that could hurt you, please be careful and always wear gloves. Which brings us to our next safety tip…
Dress For The Job
We want you to stay safe while you are protecting nature! It is important to be mindful of what type of environment you will be in when you are picking up litter. If it’s hot and sunny, don’t forget a hat and sunscreen. If it’s going to be cold, don’t forget to wear layers!
Regardless of the environment or weather, here are two tips you should always follow:
Wear gloves - properly fitting gloves can not only improve your grip on anything you might be picking up, they help protect your hands from the nastiness of litter, poisonous plants, and bug bites.
Wear shoes or boots to protect your feet
If you are interested in being a Wild Keeper, you can learn more here. If you would like to join us at a cleanup, you can register to attend here. And if you are just cleaning up nature because you are an amazing person, THANK YOU!
The next time you are out and about, leaving the world a better place, we hope you keep these safe practices in mind! Have any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them below!