News & Updates

National Cleanup Week is Calling, and You Must Go!

Haley and Gary - September 14, 2021

As National Cleanup Day approaches on September 18th, we at Leave No Trace and Subaru are celebrating the whole week leading up to this day. Starting September 13th, we invite you to take part in in cleaning up your local outdoor spaces! Our goal is to keep the land that we recreate on pristine so that future generations can enjoy these places just as we can, as well as those that came before us. Seeing that there are so many areas that have been impacted by human activity, especially in the past year, we need your help to preserve the land! You can sign up to join an official cleanup event or even start your own in an area of your choice at Also, here are some tips on how to run a community cleanup!

You can also simply go for a walk around your neighborhood or local park and pick up any trash you see. A small action like this may seem small, but every action adds up to the cumulative effect of all of us working collectively to protect our earth. If you plan to participate in a local cleanup event or do your own, be sure to log it here so that our partners at United by Blue can track the impact we have. 

In preparation for the entire month of September being considered National Cleanup Month, here are some tips for making your cleanup a sustainable experience for you, your friends/family, and the environment. 

The following text was adapted from this blog post originally published on March 1, 2020.


  • Collect Trash in Reusable Trash Bags
    Plastic bags are a go to item at cleanups, but when they end up being only a quarter full or dumped into an onsite dumpster, some other options may be better. Using something like a burlap sack or washable trash bag can minimize the plastic we use as we clean our outdoor areas. Once collected, the contents from your cleanup can be dumped into a trash receptacle, or combined with other volunteers trash into just a few bags. Overall, your plastic use will be minimized and lessen what gets sent to landfills. #DontFeedTheLandfills

  • Use Washable Gloves
    Gloves are another necessary component of any cleanup. They keep you safe and things more sanitary, but they can also create more trash. Disposable plastic gloves can tear easily, meaning we may need to go through many pairs in a single cleanup. Rather than grabbing a box of plastic gloves, invest in a pair of garden gloves or something similar. These can be washed as needed, and reduce the need to use disposable gloves.
  • Sort the Recyclables
    Just because it’s litter, doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled. While it may take a little more time and planning, and can depend on what recycling options are available in your area, sorting the items collected separately into trash and recycling can give litter a second life. This will also reduce the overall waste we send to the landfill. Wondering where to find Tips to Recycle Right? Look no further.
  • Refill and Reduce
    It’s important to stay hydrated while giving back, but that doesn’t need to mean single use plastic bottles or cups. Planning ahead by bringing a water bottle or cup, and asking any other volunteers to do the same, can eliminate the need for single use items. Set up a refilling station, or point volunteers toward the water fountain.

  • Educate and Inspire
    Other visitors are bound to be inspired when they see your cleanup efforts, so why not take it a step further and educate. Use our free Trash Timeline activity to talk with other volunteers and visitors about why your cleanup efforts are so necessary and why packing everything out is so important. That fishing line you grabbed? It can last 600 years! Those orange and banana peels? Up to 2 years and significantly affect the health of local wildlife.

  • Consider the safety of yourself and others
    Be aware of your surroundings during your cleanup, including being attentive to wildlife and any physical obstacles that might be of safety concern (ex: fallen trees, muddy trails, etc.). Do not risk your own safety or others you are with for the sake of picking up trash – consider using a trash picker that can allow you to reach further without placing your own arms and legs in danger.

Any time you pick up trash, you are creating a positive impact, but by incorporating these tips, that impact can be even greater. No matter how you give back, your outdoor areas appreciate you.

By the Subaru/Leave No Trace Teams. For over 20 years these teams have provided tangible solutions to serious issues facing our outside space and reach over 15 million people every year. Learn more about the important work of our mobile education teams.  Proud partners of this program include Subaru of AmericaREIEagles Nest Outfitters, Thule, FjällrävenThe Coleman Company and Klean Kanteen.

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