Fighting for Trash Free Seas®

Ending the flow of trash at the source

During the Cleanup

Ready to start cleaning up? Here’s what to do next.

Set Up

Arrive early to set up, post signs and label your trash drop-off site. At your check-in station, ensure you have pens, pencils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.

What to Tell Volunteers

Emphasize the importance of data collection. Make sure everyone has Clean Swell downloaded so they can keep track of the items they are collecting. This valuable information is used to create a snapshot of the global ocean trash problem and influence long-term solutions. Provide volunteers with a group name to be entered on each user’s collection screen—this makes it easy to look up your group totals later. With both data cards and Clean Swell, make data collection easier by suggesting that volunteers work in small teams that can share one data card. Designating a data recorder for each group is recommended. It is easier to collect data as items are picked up, rather than sorting and tallying everything after you clean.

Instruct volunteers on what to do if they encounter any hazardous items, such as sharp objects or dead, entangled, or injured animals. Remind them of any local safety hazards, such as power lines or poison ivy.

Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.

Tell volunteers what to do with the filled bags of trash and set a meeting time for the end of the cleanup so that everyone returns at the same time. Kids should always have adult supervision.

Document the Cleanup

Take before and after photos of the cleanup site as well as shots of your volunteers in action and a final group picture with all of the trash collected. Clean Swell has a photo icon in the top right hand corner that allows volunteers to take photos during their cleanup which are automatically submitted with their data!

If you have a scale with a hook, use it to weigh the trash bags. If you don’t have a scale, you can use a standard conversion of 15 pounds per trash bag to estimate the overall weight of your collected trash.

As the volunteers finish, remind them to review the information they entered into Clean Swell, such as number of participants and then make sure they submit! Collect all completed paper data forms and combine these onto one coordinator form.

Ensure all trash is left in the designated drop-off location and that no materials are left behind as you leave the cleanup location.

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