Cleaning up litter

Volunteers returning with their trash haul

It may seem odd to have a web page about picking up litter: Doesn't everyone know why it's important and how to pick it up? However, some things about cleanups are counterintuitive.

FMR staff provide an overview with the following information at the beginning of each FMR cleanup; however, a brief rundown of cleanup basics is below.

There are many reasons to pick up trash, from protecting wildlife and helping water quality to simply showing our pride in our local environment and community. (Read more about why we pick up trash.)

What to pick up:

Sometimes at litter cleanups, people hit a "jackpot," a former dumping ground or unofficial party spot replete with trash.

However, this is not always the case, especially in some of the higher quality and beloved areas where we hold clean-ups. Why would we have a cleanup someplace that isn't covered in old tires and empty bottles? Because smaller items have a big impact on wildlife habitat and watershed health.  

So do pick up cigarette butts, small bits of plastic, discarded straws, etc. It may take you a half-hour to fill your bag just one-tenth full, but even with trash, sometimes it's about quality, or impact, not quantity.

What NOT to pick up:

In short, use your best judgment to avoid anything too heavy, sharp or potentially hazardous.

There are many things that are best left untouched by volunteers. This is such an important topic, we gave it its own webpage. 

How do I arrange a cleanup on my own?

Request a cleanup with FMR

Check with your local city or parks department