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Host a Cleanup

Antler River Rally would love to help incubate and assist new cleanup efforts in the city. If you would like to create your own group or initiative, please reach out to us. We can help with supplies, city contacts, and other know-how to help you launch and maintain your efforts. 

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Who to involve with a cleanup

Cleanups can involve individuals or groups of all types, abilities and sizes. In general, the bigger the cleanup, the larger the impact will be. However, just a single person sustaining a regular cleanup habit can make a big difference on their own!

Hosting a cleanup event is a great way to bring community together, and to strengthen relationships within and between groups. In London, cleanups are organized by families and friends, elementary school and high school classes, post-secondary student groups, local businesses, neighbourhood groups, residents of multi-unit residential buildings, nonprofit organizations, the City of London, and more! If you are planning a cleanup event that is open to the public, consider advertising locally to spread awareness. If you are planning a cleanup on campus, check out our guide for post-secondary groups.

It is important to note that with careful planning, cleanups can be made accessible for all community members, including people with disabilities, by considering their needs ahead of time.

Antler River Rally is pleased to partner and co-host cleanups with a variety of groups each year, within our limited capacity. If you wish to have Antler River Rally be involved with your cleanup, please contact us about planning as early as possible. Co-hosted cleanups are often planned a couple of months in advance.

The City of London also provides community supports for hosting an independent cleanup. Visit the website for Clean and Green for more information about to access resources such as cleanup supplies and garbage collection.

Where to host a cleanup

Cleanups can be held just about anywhere there is litter in need of attention. Selecting a site carefully can increase the impact, accessibility and relevance of your cleanup to participants. Choosing an appropriate cleanup site also involves considering safety and respect for community members and shared space. Parks, neighborhoods, Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs), riversides, or other public spaces can all be appropriate sites for a litter cleanup event.

We recommend considering the following aspects before selecting a cleanup site:

  1. Is there a substantial amount of litter that can be accessed by volunteers? Consider visiting the site beforehand to scope it out.

  2. Is the cleanup site located on private or public land? If it's on private land, have you obtained permission from the land owner?

  3. Are there any community members living at or near the cleanup site? (e.g., encampments) If there are, ensure that your plans will not disturb these people by avoiding encroaching into their space – learn more.

  4. Where is a central area where collected garbage can be temporarily stored and retrieved after the cleanup? This location should have vehicle access (e.g., a road or driveway) Existing dumpsters may be appropriate, with permission from the property owner.

  5. Plan your cleanup in an area that is free from natural hazards. For example, cleanups should take place away from locations along watercourses that are vulnerable to erosion should not be held during periods of flooding. Some areas may have biohazards or noxious weeds to avoid, such as poison ivy. 

  6. How will participants access the cleanup site? Consider proximity to public transit routes, cycling routes and bicycle storage, and nearby parking, and include these details with your event advertisement.

  7. To make a cleanup more accessible for people with limited mobility, consider choosing a site with an area that is paved and flat.


When to schedule a cleanup

In general, cleanups can happen at any time of the year. In areas where there is garbage inside dense vegetation, planning a cleanup in spring or late fall when the leaves are thinner can make the site more accessible and easier to clean. Late fall and winter cleanups may be more difficult with snow and fallen leaves obscuring the litter.

For group cleanups, try to plan at least a week or two in advance, leaving enough time for a site scoping visit before your event. If you are planning regular cleanups it may help to pick a consistent date or time. Antler River Rally schedules cleanups mostly on weekends when volunteers are free.

Cleanups may be practical to schedule after events that produce litter. September and May are popular months for cleanups that align with popular move-out dates and orientation for newcomers to London. Check with local event listings to schedule cleanups around timing of festivals over the summer months.

How to plan a cleanup

Every cleanup is different, so the planning process won't look the same for everyone. However, in general, the following components and steps are good to consider:

  1. For cleanups happening on or near a post-secondary campus to be led by groups of students, check out this dedicated guide.

  2. Start by outlining your cleanup objectives. What do you hope to achieve through this initiative? Whether it's reducing litter in a specific area, raising environmental awareness, or fostering community unity, clear goals will guide your planning.

  3. Then, identify who will be involved, and where and when your cleanup will take place (see above).

  4. Obtain permission from the landowner, if applicable.

  5. Create a promotional advertisement to circulate online or in-person. Let participants know what to bring and where and when to meet.

  6. Determine who the lead contact person is for your event, and share this information with participants in case they have questions.

  7. Contact the City of London at least a few days in advance to arrange garbage pickup after your cleanup. Reach out to contacts listed on the page for London Clean and Green.

  8. Gather your cleanup supplies. Supplies may be available to borrow from the City of London Clean and Green program or from Antler River Rally.  You will need the following:

    • Gloves (best to use ones suitable for handling sharp objects)

    • Garbage bags

    • "Picker-upper" grabber tools (optional)

    • Cart(s) for moving heavier garbage (optional)

    • Hand sanitizer

    • Sharps / needle container (depending on the site)

    • Scissors/knife (for freeing tangled garbage)

    • First Aid Kit (recommended)

  9. At the start of your event, provide verbal instructions to your participants including safety information, where the garbage is to be collected, and any relevant details about the site. You may use Antler River Rally's script for cleanup orientation.

  10. Remember to take photos to share after your cleanup! Participants and community will appreciate the opportunity to celebrate your hard work.

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