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Litter Picking Health and Safety 

Following updated government advice on coronavirus and social distancing, you can litter pick as part of your exercise routine or in small group sizes following social distancing guidelines with people you don’t live with. 

The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time.

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, for example if you have been contacted as part of the test and trace programme, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Individuals currently shielding, in ‘at risk’ groups, displaying symptoms (or in contact with those with symptoms) or have been directly advised to self-isolate should not litter pick.

We will update this page as government guidance on COVID-19 changes, to ensure you protect your own safety and that of others. The latest government advice for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ccan be found here: 

Guidance on litter picking safely *:

We’ve put together some guidance to support you in making your litter picks as safe as possible. Please only consider resuming litter picking if you are happy to do so – there is no obligation or expectation from Planet Patrol for you to do this. The below is guidance for you to consider:

  • Wash your hands (before and after litter picking) and carry hand sanitiser if you have some. Don’t touch your face until you’ve washed or sanitised your hands. Guidance on how to wash your hands here.
  • Wear reusable protective gloves, such as gardening gloves, and do not share gloves with other people (wash and sanitise gloves after use if reusable). We recommend that you don’t touch or pick up litter with your bare hands. If you choose to do this, please carry hand sanitiser and wash hands well.
  • Use a litter picker
  • Use your own reusable bag or bucket to collect litter in (wash and sanitise after use)
  • To help keep you safe by following government advice, personal coronavirus waste (such as used tissues, face masks, disposable gloves, wet wipes or cleaning cloths) should be kept in a separate bag, tied securely and kept separately for 72 hours, before doing into your general waste/wheelie bin at home. Do not pick them up if you do not have these measures in place.
  • Don’t pick up sharps/syringes.
  • Keep your distance from others whilst litter picking (2m – 6 ft – apart)
  • Wear face coverings – help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease 
  • As summer approaches, be aware that certain areas could be very busy so you may want to consider the timing of clean ups e.g. in the evening and avoiding weekend times.
  • Once collected, please dispose of your findings properly. Some litter can be recycled – check locally what can and can’t be recycled. If it can’t be recycled, put in a public or your home general waste bin.

See it. Snap it. Map it – track brands you find

Remember to track the litter you find. Simply take a photo and record the brands you find in our app. We can use this data to stop polluters and influence change.

If you don’t feel comfortable picking up litter you can still make a difference by using our app, Planet Patrol. The data you collect is vital evidence that brands and government cannot ignore. All you have to do is take a photo and no touching needed! 

You can download the app for free here:

Stay safe everyone!

Best practices:

  • No single-use bin bags to collect litter in – this just adds more plastic to landfill! Use a reusable bag or container – like a bucket or garden trug!
  • Separate litter into recyclables and non-recyclables (follow hygiene guidance above) – litter is often products that can be recycled and this material is valuable. You can reintroduce it back into the economy by recycling it.
  • Record what you find in our global database as per above! This is evidence to hold brands and government to account!
*Planet Patrol does not accept any liability for contraction of COVID-19 or injury for anyone who undertakes litter picking.

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