The Great Global Cleanup, At Home and Abroad

The Great Global Cleanup, At Home and Abroad 

In our most recent Earth Day inspired blog about how you can lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle, we shared tips on how to correctly dispose of household recycling and waste. In keeping with the theme of Earth Day 2021, Restore the Earth, this blog post will supply ideas for you to help clean up the trash that has not been disposed of properly (I.e., blowing around in nature) both locally and around the world. 

Cleaning Up Your Own Neighborhood

Cleaning up your own neighborhood is more important than many people realize. Whether picking up the trash that blows into your own yard on windy garbage days or organizing a cleanup in your community, trash pickup is an important activity. No matter where you live, plastics and other non-compostable materials pose a threat to local wildlife. 

Birds and other local animals are as at risk of becoming entangled in plastic bags and wrappers. Animals can get their heads stuck in food containers and bags, with lethal results. And while much focus has been on the plastic problems in our oceans, our local rivers, streams, and lakes are also at risk of plastics breaking down into microplastics and harming humans and wildlife. 

Here are some things you can do to clean up your community: 

Take 10 

Take 10 is a concept on the Earth Day website that simply promotes the idea of taking 10 minutes to clean up garbage in a public place. All you need are gloves and a trash can. A trash pickup device and a bucket can also make the job easier. Every little bit of cleanup helps, and you can feel good about having those items contained in a proper garbage receptacle. 


Plogging originated in Sweden in 2016, but you can do this anywhere. Plogging is simply the combination of jogging and trash pickup. It is win-win because you burn calories and clean up the trails that you love to run at the same time. However, you do not have to be a runner to enjoy plogging. Walkers and hikers can combine a gorgeous walk on a trail with trash pickup. If your dog is good at the “leave it” command, you can take them along on your trash pickup excursions. 

Adopt a Highway

The Adopt a Highway program is a great way to combine marketing your small business or not-for-profit with helping keep the environment clean of trash. When you participate in the Adopt a Highway program, your small business or philanthropic organization adopts a small section of a highway and picks up litter several times a year. A sign with your name and logo lets travelers know that you handle keeping that stretch of road clean of trash. 

Earth Day Great Global Cleanup

The Great Global Cleanup is an annual event each Earth Day. You can search for existing cleanup opportunities in your area or create your own. The Earth Day website offers a searchable map with existing events, as well as a place to register your own organized cleanup:

If you do not have a cleanup event near you, or you have a specific location that you would like to clean, you can create your own event. Cleaning up trash is an activity that can easily be done while still being physically distanced from each other. Wearing a mask and gloves would be recommended for cleaning up trash without a global pandemic going on. The Earth Day website has a great checklist available for anyone who wants to organize their own cleanup:

Unique Trash Cleanup Opportunities 

Taking a vacation to clean up trash is not for everyone. Let’s face it, this sort of trip is not as glamorous as an all-inclusive trip spent by the pool drinking frozen beverages. However, it will feel amazing to do the work needed to save our oceans, help our marine life, and keep the beautiful places of the world beautiful. Many trips have fun and relaxation built into the schedule, so that you can have some downtime to enjoy the beautiful destination that you are working to help preserve. 

Trash cleanup trips are a terrific opportunity for homeschoolers, college students, and active retired adults. Eco-conscious adults will also love the chance to do such meaningful work and truly make a significant impact on the environment.

Living Lands and Waters

Based in the Midwest, Living Lands and Waters hosts river cleanups in several states and rivers. They also offer an Alternative Spring Break program, in which college students spend a week working on their garbage barges. According to their website, Living Lands and Water is the “only industrial strength river clean-up organization in the world.” In addition to cleaning up everyday garbage like bottles and straws, they have removed sizable items like tires, refrigerators, cars, and even a John Deer Combine out of rivers. You can view their intriguing list of items that they have found here:

Dive Against Debris 

Dive Against Debris is a group of scuba divers who are committed to cleaning up oceans and other bodies of water while doing what they love. Scuba divers can use the website to share their personal data about any garbage collected on their own dives, find like-minded divers in local groups, or start their own group. You can also join their community to find dive cleanup events around the world. 

Volunteer World

Volunteer World is a wonderful place to find volunteer programs abroad. For example, travel to Costa Rica and help clean up some of their beaches that are in desperate need of help. Or travel to Australia where you can help clean up beaches and help conserve the Great Barrier Reef. 

Have you participated in a trash cleanup event or the Great Global Cleanup? If you have an upcoming event, share your information on the Pure Earth Pets Facebook page, or tag @pureearthpets on Instagram. 

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