Reducing the amount of litter in your local area.

Curriculum Examples

  • English – write an instructional text about how to safely conduct a litter pick: ‘Litter-acy.’
  • Maths – record the different litter items found during a litter pick in a graph or chart, can this be reduced (Step 6).
  • Art – use ‘clean’ litter to create artworks and sculptures.

Balloon & Lantern Releases
We know that balloon releases have been a traditional way to celebrate special achievements or events, but our attitudes towards them need to change. ‘Biodegradable’ balloon or lantern releases in schools are not part of our ethos and will be challenged. Please use our Plastic Alternatives Guide for other ideas to balloon or lantern releases, glitter and single use plastics in schools.

Visit our Litter Pinterest for more ideas

The Great Big School Clean

Thank you to all 175,055 pupils who made The Great Big School Clean 2019 the biggest ever!

The Great Big School Clean will be back in 2020, but in the meantime check out our handy litter picking planning resource.

You don’t have to wait for The Great Big School Clean 2020 to get out and get litter picking, use our Litter Picking Guide to put your Eco-Committee in charge of organising litter picks in your school and local community.

Litter picking is a great excuse to go outdoors, its fun and great evidence for your Green Flag Award! It’s also a powerful message to society, as one Eco-Committee member said to us:

“Adults must think, ‘How embarrassing that children have to pick up our litter,'”

Other Actions

Need more ideas?

Plogging: litter picking whilst jogging. Linking the Litter and Healthy Living topics in one action!


If you want to purchase litter picking equipment, we recommend Helping Hand Environmental using our School Order Form.

School Examples

St Alban's Roman Catholic Primary School, Blackburn

Last year, the Eco-Committee at St Alban's decided to invest in 8 litter pickers for their school and since then they have cleaned up their school grounds at least twice a week during morning play times. Once a week, they also try to get out into their community to litter pick during lunch break. The group of children litter picking each week has to change, because so many of the children at St Alban's want to get involved! School Litter Monitors help their Eco-Coordinator organise the litter picks and the Committee have also contacted their local Council who sent a representative to their school to talk to everyone about waste and looking after their environment. They also share their litter picking achievements on social media with local group Keep Blackburn Tidy - a great examples of Step 5: Informing and Involving!
For the Great Big School Clean 2019 the whole school (from Nursery to Year 6) litter picked both inside and outside the School grounds: loaning additional litter picking equipment from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Key Stage 2 collected 25 bags of litter, a tyre, a television, a shopping trolley, a chair, a fire extinguisher and a bike from outside the school grounds and EYFS and KS1 collected 7 bags of litter from inside school grounds. A few days later, they held another litter pick and invited Keep Britain Tidy #LitterHero Wayne Dixon and his dog Koda.
Since beginning their work on the Eco-Schools Litter topic, pupils have had fun and noticed how much difference their litter picking has made to the local area. The school have also had plenty of local residents calling to say thank you!

School Website

Gorse Hall Primary School, Stalybridge

To celebrate 21 years of being an Eco-School, Gorse Hall Primary School decided to participate in Keep Britain Tidy and Eco-Schools Great Big School Clean (which is an annual event that happens each spring). Despite the school grounds looking beautiful and immaculate, it didn't take long for the Year 5 pupils and the school's Eco-Committee to fill a whole refuse sack with litter. Most of the litter found was based around the school perimeter, having blown in from outside the school grounds and single-use plastics made up the vast majority of the litter collected. This is a particular problem as plastic harms wildlife and pupils at Gorse Hall had recently discovered a pair of voles and nesting blue tits in the pond area of their school grounds. Not only was the litter pick fun, it also made students at Gorse Hall realise the damage dropping litter can do to our environment!

School Website

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