Clean Up Australia Day

Clean Up Australia empowers small and large communities to preserve their own environment. The event is always run on the first Sunday in March. This year the official Clean Up Australia Day is Sunday March 1. 30 years ago Ian Kiernan started the fantastic initiative. At the time, Ian was an avid sailor. When he was on the water he was shocked and appalled by the rubbish he saw when he encountered the various oceans of the world (1). He had the simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard. Ian arranged a community event with the support of a committee and friends including the co-founder of Clean Up Australia Day, Kim McKay. This idea has now become Australia's largest community-based environmental event. The enthusiasm and desire from the first event has inspired many to get involved and make a difference for the environment. So began Clean Up Australia Day in 1990.

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Australians produce 50 million tonnes of waste each year, that equates to 2 tonnes per person (2). Modern living has led to increased production of waste. It is the norm for products we purchase to be packaged in single-use, throw away plastic. Single-use plastic is convenient while fast food is affordable. As individuals, we pay for bottled water and takeaway food. We generally replace broken items rather than repair them.

Getting as many people as possible to dedicate their time, one day a year to help clean-up an area in their community, can assist with rubbish left in shared environments. Clean Up the World is also underway and engages 35 million volunteers in 130 countries!

Over it's 30-year duration more the 17 million Australians have donated their time to take part in Clean Up Australia Day Activities. 35 million hours of volunteer time has been donated to Clean Up activities. These events have directly benefited the environment. Amazingly more the 365,000 ute loads of rubbish have been removed as part of Clean Up Australia activities. The aim of Clean Up Australia Day activities is to work with community, government, and businesses to provide practical solutions to help everyone live a more sustainable way (1). The focus is to prevent rubbish from entering the environment.

How To Get Involved

Businesses can take part in the Clean Up Australia Day by organising cleanups. It is possible to register at any time of the year to host an event by signing up with the organisation. Councils play an imperative role in a successful cleanup day, 'the support if Councils is critical to the success of Clean Up Australia Day. Without councils, our events would simply not be able to operate' (Clean Up Australia 2020)'.

Choosing Your Venue

Selecting a Clean Up location can be onerous. Look for an area close to you that you feel may benefit from a Clean Up. This could be a beach, waterway, park or any shared space. You can also contact your local council who may be able to help you identify a potential site if you want some ideas. Once you have selected your location it's suggested to contact your local council and let them know of your Clean Up event. Should you want to conduct a Clean Up on private land you must get the landholder's permission and then register your Clean Up here [https://www. create-a-clean-up].

Planning Your Clean Up

Depending on the size of your Clean Up site the time required for a successful event can vary. The number of volunteers you have assisting and amount of rubbish you aim to collect will determine the time needed. On average Clean Up Australia advises that most events should last around two hours. Many like to host a barbecue or picnic after the Clean Up to reward the hard work of volunteers. Just make sure you take your rubbish with you!

What to do with Collected Rubbish

With all the rubbish that has been collected, you can either dispose of this yourself or get in touch with your local council about a collection. If you choose to register your event online you will be able to nominate a Rubbish Collection Point. Please be aware that this must be arranged prior to the event with your local council. Should you collect eligible containers and bottles with a recycle logo, these can be returned to a container deposit location for cash.

What to Pack

If you are volunteering your time to a Clean Up event be sure to dress appropriately for the weather. Wear closed-toe shoes. It is recommended to bring a hat, pair of gloves, sunscreen, and water – in a reusable or recyclable bottle! Should it be raining on the day, Clean Up Australia's first concern is volunteer safety. If you feel it's best to postpone a Clean Up due to poor weather conditions, please do so. Make sure you let your volunteers know that the event has been postponed. If you want to remain covered by Clean Up Australia's public liability insurance, it is imperative that all sites notify the organisation of the new date for your Clean Up.

To get involved, share your event using the hashtags #CleanUpAustralia #StepUpToCleanUp

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