How to Organize a Community Park Cleanup Event

Children on Playcubes

Shared public spaces like parks are designed for entire communities to enjoy. Unfortunately, these areas are sometimes overlooked when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. Organizing a community park cleanup event can be a great way to involve your community in caring for the park they use and love.

The Benefits of Community Cleaning Events

The Benefits of Community Cleaning Events

A community-wide cleaning event is a great chance for the people in your community to help preserve their shared outdoor spaces. Consider a few of the benefits your community gains from a park cleanup:

1. Keep Your Park Looking New

Volunteers for a community cleaning event remove trash, cover graffiti, ensure restrooms and drinking fountains are functional, haul away debris and complete other maintenance tasks. These small jobs help maintain a clean and safe space for people to gather and enjoy the outdoors.

Community park cleanup also raises awareness for environmentalism and builds a sense of teamwork. The event helps community members practice responsible habits and develop neighborhood pride.

2. Involve the Whole Community

Park cleanup projects have jobs for people of all ages and abilities. Young children can help pick up sticks, while older people or individuals with disabilities can hand out refreshments. Everyone has an important role to play.

A community park cleanup typically lasts only a few hours, attracting more volunteers with limited time. Cleaning parks can also be a very satisfying project. Results are immediate, and volunteers will enjoy seeing the difference their energy makes.

3. Enhance Quality of Life

When people of all ages have a clean and safe space to spend time with friends, play and enjoy the outdoors, they can lead more enriched lives. Recent research has illuminated the many ways parks improve the physical and mental health of the people who enjoy them. Clean parks also make a neighborhood more attractive for businesses and other community developments.

How to Plan a Park Cleanup

How to Plan a Park Cleanup

Planning a park cleanup with plenty of time before the event is essential to ensuring the process goes smoothly. Consider implementing these tips as you plan your park cleaning event:

1. Select Your Cleanup Location

The first step in planning a community park cleanup is selecting the location. Determining where you’ll focus your efforts will help you decide how many volunteers you need for the event and plan for the supplies you might need. Additionally, get in touch with your local municipality to ensure you have the go-ahead to host a cleanup event at that particular park.

2. Estimate the Number of Volunteers You Need

Determine the number of volunteers you’ll need to recruit for the park cleanup. This number will depend on a couple of factors, including:

  • The size and scope of the project: A larger park in disrepair might require more time than a smaller one that only requires trash and debris removal.
  • Your cleanup priorities: Prioritizing specific tasks throughout the cleanup period could help people feel more accomplished at the end of the day. Even if it’ll take several days to complete, break down your priorities so you tackle the most pertinent issues first.

3. Set a Date and Time

Plan the date and time for your park cleanup event. Saturday might be the best day since many people are off work and may have the free time to volunteer. Depending on the time of year and climate in your area, you might want to keep the community cleaning event to the morning hours to avoid high temperatures in the middle of the day.

Alternatively, you could schedule morning and afternoon shifts to give volunteers a break. This strategy will increase the number of volunteers you need but might help you accomplish more. Scheduling three- or four-hour shifts can make the work more manageable for volunteers.

4. Coordinate Waste Removal

Planning how you and your volunteers will remove waste from the park can save a lot of trouble. Removing trash and recyclables might be much more work than filling a few garbage bags and driving them in the trunk of a sedan.

You might be able to borrow recycling bins, dumpsters and tools from your municipality if you plan to clean up a public park. Plan dumpster availability several weeks in advance. A few volunteers may have pickup trucks you can use to transport waste to your local recycling center or dump.

5. Partner With Local Vendors

Reaching out to local businesses may provide solutions to a few of these problems:

  • Finding volunteers: Ask businesses to advertise your cleanup event to help you find volunteers.
  • Gathering supplies: Businesses close to the location you plan to clean may be willing to help pay for supplies or let your volunteers use their dumpsters or parking spaces on the day of the event.
  • Feeding volunteers: A day of cleaning outdoors can work up an appetite. Plan socializing time and refreshments for after the event and ask local vendors to contribute a certain amount of food or drinks for every 5 pounds of trash collected.

6. Advertise

You’ll need to spread the word across your community to attract enough volunteers. Post flyers in local businesses and around your neighborhood and include an ad in your local city newsletter.

The internet is also a great place to advertise your event. Share photos of the areas in the park that need attention on social media. Advertise how the park cleanup event will improve the look and usability of the site. You might also share a video of the importance of green spaces to get community members interested in the event. Create a website or Facebook event to get an idea of how many volunteers will turn out.

7. Gather Supplies

Once you have a location, date and plenty of volunteers, gather the supplies you’ll need to make your park cleanup event a success. Here are a few essentials and some extra materials you might use depending on the scope of your project:

  • Trash bags
  • Extra work gloves
  • T-shirts for volunteers
  • Shovels
  • Rakes
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Mulch
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Tree and bush trimmers
  • Common cleaners
  • Latex gloves
  • Garden hose
  • First aid kit

Tips for Cleaning Your Community Park

Keeping your park cleanup organized and productive can feel like a monumental task. Use these tips on the day of your event to keep volunteers on track and ensure your team makes the best use of the time:

1. Give Volunteers Well-Defined Tasks and Goals

As soon as your first volunteers arrive, greet them with a “thank you” and immediately assign them to a cleanup team. Giving volunteers specific tasks right away limits downtime and ensures you can accomplish more.

Have assignments ready to go for volunteers who have disabilities. Remind volunteers to be careful around glass and metal and ensure everyone is wearing proper safety equipment.

Give each cleanup team a specific task for the day and clearly outline your goal for them. People can focus better and use their time more efficiently when they know what’s expected of them.

2. Remove Waste First

Picking up trash is generally the best task to complete first. Even when visitors to the park are careful, wind, rain and animals can sometimes spread litter outside receptacles and cause a mess. Your volunteers should remove waste and recyclables first so they can focus on other tasks without needing to step over trash.

Provide a team of volunteers with gloves, sturdy trash bags and trash picker tools to collect waste from the entire area. Pay special attention to areas near picnic tables. You might also create a cleanup team to separate recyclables from the trash that goes to the dump.

3. Inspect and Replace Broken Playground Equipment

If the park has a playground, an inspection should be a part of your park cleanup day. Playground equipment safety is essential for creating a welcoming and enjoyable park.

Have volunteers check playground equipment components and hardware for broken, missing or loose pieces. Watch out for cracks in plastic or rust on metal components. Volunteers can tighten loose bolts on the spot and perform other small maintenance tasks.

However, some defects may indicate that the equipment needs replacement with more durable playground equipment. You should notify park management of any potential hazards they need to address further.

4. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations for Cleaning Playground Equipment

Always ensure your volunteers follow best practices for cleaning playground equipment to keep the equipment in good shape. A mixture of soap or detergent and water is often enough to do the job. Some playground manufacturers might include cleaning product suggestions for their specific equipment. It may be helpful to perform this research ahead of time so you can guide volunteers on how to clean the equipment.

Scrub playground equipment with soapy water and a brush or sponge to remove everyday dirt, then rinse with a hose. For cleaning tougher buildup or removing pathogens, you might have to use another technique like a bleach solution or mold removal spray. Check the playground equipment manufacturer’s instructions before using any cleaning product.

5. Resurface the Ground

A community cleaning effort might focus on removing trash and repairing damaged site fixtures. However, maintaining the park’s ground surface is another important aspect of keeping the park looking nice. Parks may have various surfacing types, including grassy lawns, wood mulch, paved sidewalks and unitary playground surfacing.

Part of the park cleanup could include mulching an area or mowing the park’s lawn to make it more inviting for visitors. If sidewalks have large cracks, a concrete company may need to repour concrete surfaces. Take note of substantial surfacing issues and let the people who operate the park know so they can make the right adjustments.

6. Give the Landscaping a Refresh

Landscaping goes a long way in making a park look inviting. Overgrown trees and shrubs make parks look unkempt and unattractive. Trimming some of the existing landscaping and planting new greenery can give a park a complete makeover.

Have volunteers clear away dead plants and trim overgrown bushes if the project isn’t too unmanageable. Then, bring in new shrubs, flowers and trees and add fresh mulch. Check with the park’s management before beginning a landscaping project.

7. End the Day With a Celebration

A community park cleanup event is an effort worth celebrating. Finish the afternoon or day of cleaning by providing refreshments and even T-shirts from the event. Saying thank you in a tangible way is a great way to reward your volunteers and demonstrate your gratitude for their help. Remember to take pictures throughout the day to share on social media or use in your advertising the next time you hold a community cleanup.

5 Ways to Keep Your Community Park Clean

5 Ways to Keep Your Community Park Clean

Although a park cleanup day makes a significant difference, maintaining a clean park is a year-round effort. Park managers and organizations can take a few steps to help keep the park clean after each cleanup day:

1. Provide Playground Trash Cans Around the Park

Visitors to the park will create waste from food wrappers, water bottles and more. Having accessible locations for waste disposal keeps it from ending up on the ground. Place plenty of playground trash cans at convenient locations around the park to encourage people to take care of their waste and keep the park clean.

2. Include Receptacles for Pet Waste

Many people enjoy going to the park to walk their dogs, and having a separate receptacle gives them a designated area for disposing of pet waste. Include pet waste disposal units that provide waste bags to encourage visitors to dispose of their pets’ waste safely.

3. Install Hand Sanitizing Stations

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spreading of illness and infection. However, using hand sanitizer is effective at minimizing the spread of germs and keeping park visitors safe. Install hand sanitizing stations near picnic areas and at the entrances to playgrounds to enable visitors to help keep themselves and others healthy.

4. Add Recycling Bins

Park visitors may bring recyclable items, such as plastic water bottles, glass bottles and paper. Installing receptacles helps keep recyclables separated from trash and provides another opportunity for visitors to help the environment.

5. Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces

If the park receives a high amount of traffic, it may be helpful to hire someone to clean or sanitize frequently touched surfaces at the end of the day. A few surfaces to consider cleaning include:

Freshen Up Your Community Park With Playworld

Freshen up Your Community Park With Playworld

Cleaning parks brings people together over a shared commitment to providing their neighborhood with a safe and inviting place to gather, play and enjoy the outdoors. A park cleanup is an excellent way to give your community park a refresh.

At Playworld, we believe in creating playgrounds that unite communities and offer safe, inclusive fun for kids. Whether you need to replace existing playground equipment or design a new playground that better suits your community’s needs, Playworld is here to help. We offer playground equipment for all ages and abilities that are built to last.

To learn more about freshening up your community park with our equipment and site furnishings, contact us or request a quote today.

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How to Start an Inclusive Park

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