The end of August means more than swapping sunscreen for a pumpkin spice latte. Just as summer is a time for sun, surf, and blue skies, fall is when we all get ready for a winter spent gathered under thick blankets and around warm fireplaces. But before you get too cozy, there’s work to do, whether in your yard and garden, or simply around your home as you fortify for the cold, snowy months ahead. (And consider these tips for winterizing your backyard to help wildlife during the season.) But why stop at your own property line?
If you’ve spent much time outdoors during the past months, you know the amount of trash that ends up discarded at beaches, parks, and other public spaces. So, even as you dust off that rake, mop, or broom, think bigger. It's the perfect time to turn the tide against litter because September is Cleanup Month with National CleanUp Day and World CleanUp Day both landing on the third Saturday of the month. There’s no better excuse to take litter into your own hands. So, grab your gloves, put on your walking shoes, and discover how to get involved.
What is National CleanUp Day?
National CleanUp Day was founded in 2017 by hikers Steve Jewett and Bill Willoughby and is now organized by the nonprofit Clean Trails. In recent years, the holiday has attracted partners including earthday.org, Keep America Beautiful, Waterkeeper Alliance, and Let’s Do It World, the international group responsible for World Cleanup Day, which will be celebrated on the same day — September 16. Since its inception, volunteers have bagged tens of millions of pounds and more than two million people are expected to participate in 2023, collecting garbage from beaches, rivers, and forests across the country.
The mission is simple: to bring people together from all walks of life to clean up litter, debris, and waste. But the event isn’t just about picking up trash; it’s also about raising awareness of the impact of waste on our environment and promoting sustainable practices. National CleanUp Day reminds us that small acts, when multiplied by millions, can create a wave of positive change that ripples across the globe.
One way to help with cleanups? Don’t pollute in the first place. So, why not start with your laundry routine as a step toward a more sustainable lifestyle? Single-use plastic packaging is causing catastrophic damage to oceans, species, and even human health. Think of all the loads of laundry done every year — and the plastic jugs that, once emptied, end up in landfills and in our oceans. Made from petrochemicals, these plastics disintegrate into microplastics. At SaltyLama, our eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets come in biodegradable, compostable packaging. You’ll never have to pick up another plastic jug again — or wonder where it will ultimately end up.
How can you take part in National CleanUp Day?
From solo cleanups to community-driven initiatives, there’s something for everyone who wants to get involved and make a difference. Here are some ideas to get you started so you can be part of National Cleanup Day:
Do a solo cleanup in your area
You don’t need to gather a group to make a difference this September. Feel free to embark on a cleanup mission in your neighborhood, local park, or nearby beach. Bring along a trash bag, a pair of gloves, and a positive attitude. Then, enjoy a leisurely stroll while picking up litter along the way. You’ll be amazed at the impact even a small cleanup can have on your surroundings.
Form a cleanup crew
If you don’t want to go at it alone, rally your squad and form a cleanup crew. Grab your buddies, family members, or coworkers, and hit the streets together. You’ll not only make a bigger impact in less time as a group, but you’ll also enjoy good company and laughs along the way. Don’t forget to snap some #cleanupday selfies to share your cleanup adventures with the world!
Participate in community cleanup events
Look into any organized community cleanup events happening in your area on National Cleanup Day. Many local organizations, environmental groups, and schools often host cleanup events to engage the community. These events are fantastic opportunities to meet like-minded individuals and make lasting connections while working together towards a cleaner environment. Who knows who you might meet and what you’ll accomplish together?
Virtual cleanups are a great alternative
Are you unable to make it to a physical cleanup location? No problem! You can always join and participate in online cleanup initiatives. Partake in social media campaigns that encourage people to pick up litter in their local areas and share their before-and-after cleanup pictures. Use hashtags like #NationalCleanupDay and #CleanUpChallenge to inspire others to follow suit.
Become a guardian of a specific area in your community by participating in an Adopt-a-Spot program. Many cities and towns offer these initiatives where individuals or groups commit to regularly cleaning up and taking care of a designated spot, such as a park, street, or trail. Not only will you keep the area clean, but you’ll also feel a sense of ownership and pride in your adopted spot. We’re all part of a community, one way or another, so participating in Adopt-a-Spot is an awesome way to celebrate that.
Dive into an underwater cleanup
If you’re an adventurous soul and live near the water, consider joining underwater cleanups. For certified divers, underwater cleanup events offer a unique opportunity to tackle marine litter and contribute to ocean conservation. Dive in, remove debris, and witness the beauty of the underwater world while being a hero to the ocean (and our planet as a whole).
Go plogging on National CleanUp Day
Plogging is the ultimate multitasking workout! This trendy activity combines jogging with picking up litter along your route. Put on your running shoes, carry a trash bag, and pick up litter as you jog through your neighborhood or local park. Not only will you burn calories, but you’ll also leave the environment cleaner and healthier.
National Cleanup Day is our chance to come together as a global community of environmental activists and supporters. With our collective efforts, we can make a lasting impact on our planet's health and beauty. Whether you’re going solo, forming a cleanup crew, joining a community event, or diving into underwater cleanups, every action counts. Let’s help turn National Cleanup Day into a celebration of eco-consciousness and a pledge to make every day cleanup day.