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Love where you live

Community volunteer litter pickers

Volunteer litter pickers help us keep the district a clean, safe and green place to live, work and visit.

We are extremely grateful for the work they do.

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Stay safe

Litter picking guidance

We have produced health and safety guidance to make sure litter picks are safe and volunteers are aware of the dangers. We ask pickers to do a risk assessment for each litter pick of the area they want to clean.

Volunteers are asked to make sure they are wearing appropriate clothing and have litter picking equipment. We help provide equipment such as litter pickers, high vis clothing, gloves and rubbish bags.

Litter picking of areas beside roads should be carried out with extreme caution, due to the risk of being struck by vehicles. A minimum of half a meter safe working zone from live traffic should be maintained at all times.

Conduct a pre-site inspection to determine an agreed safe working area.

Litter picking should be restricted to only where there are wide verges or pavements, suitable for pedestrians, and should be carried out facing oncoming traffic.

It is essential that volunteers are visible to road users, for that reason, hi-visibility waistcoats must be worn and litter picks should only take place in clear daylight. Volunteers should not attempt to clear litter from the carriageway.

Hi-visibility waistcoat should be worn to clearly highlight the volunteers.

Litter pickers to avoid direct contact with litter and repetitive bending.

Gloves to minimise contact with any noxious or dangerous materials.

Suitable footwear/clothing (flip flops or other open toe footwear is not recommended).

If an item of litter cannot be safely reached with a litter picker, leave it and report its location to us. 

Avoid working close to rivers or on steep slopes, as there is an increased risk of slips and falls. When working close to ditches, avoid reaching into the ditch to remove litter, unless it can be safely reached with a litter picker.

Be mindful of wildlife. In the springtime avoid disturbing animals and birds that may be nesting. In the summertime be wary of wasp and bee nests.

Do not attempt to enter an area where other works are taking place (such as road works) or where the public do not have a right to enter.

The level of risk will vary at each location. Before starting a litter pick, it is recommended that a visual site inspection and a risk assessment is carried out. This will establish the hazards and to identify the possible risks.

Use litter pickers to prevent constant bending and stretching.

Make sure an item is safe to handle with no sharp edges or noxious contents. Decide if an item can be safely moved either by one or two people.

Only try to move an item if this can be done so without straining.

When lifting an item, bend the legs and keep the back straight.

Broken glass – remove using a litter picker or a brush and shovel, avoiding contact by hand, and dispose of in a sturdy container.

Drug related litter/hypodermics – these should not be moved. Make a note of the location and report to us for specialist removal.

Suspect materials and flytipping – items that are possibly dangerous such as unknown liquids in containers, building materials or asbestos should not be moved by volunteers. Make a note of the location and report to us for specialist removal. 

Weapons – If you find a weapon please call the police and let them know the location.

If in doubt about anything you find, leave it and contact us so that we can safely dispose of it.

If children are taking part in the litter pick, make sure their parent, guardian or nominated adult over the age of 18 is supervising them.

Make sure children have the appropriate equipment and clothing.


Volunteers should not participate in litter picks unless they understand and accept that participation is entirely at their own risk.

Volunteers are not working for, or on behalf of Wyre Forest District Council and therefore the council will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused because of the actions and omissions of volunteers or this guidance.

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