The health and safety of our volunteers is a top priority.

We recommend completing a risk assessment before litter picking.

To get a sample risk assessment, email

Litter picking safety guidance

To complete a safe litter pick, you must:

  • only litter pick during the day
  • stay in sight of others
  • not pick up litter by hand and always use litter picking equipment (email to borrow equipment from us)
  • not handle the claw end of the litter picker with bare hands
  • always wear protective gloves
  • not litter pick items above shoulder height
  • not try to remove litter from roads or carriageways
  • avoid reaching into hedges or undergrowth
  • not overfill or drag collection bags
  • avoid contact with the body when carrying collection bags
  • only pick what you can carry comfortably. You can report heavy items and fly tipping to us online or by calling 01634 333 333
  • not try to compress rubbish with hands or feet
  • be aware of uneven ground and trip hazards
  • be aware of dog fouling
  • wash your hands before eating, drinking, smoking or vaping
  • only do what is within your capabilities
  • take regular rest breaks.

Broken glass

If you come across broken glass, you can remove using a litter picker or a brush and shovel and place in a separate bag.

You should not:

  • pick broken glass up by hand
  • place broken glass in your bin bag.

Large pieces of glass can be reported to the council using our report heavy items and fly tipping online form

Drug related paraphernalia

Do not touch drug related paraphernalia or hypodermic needles.

You should:

If you're injured with a needle, seek immediate medical treatment.

Potentially hazardous material

Avoid potentially hazardous material such as:

  • unidentified cans or canisters
  • oil drums
  • chemical containers
  • building materials.

You should:

Verbal or physical abuse

If you experience verbal or physical abuse, leave the area and report incidents to 111 for non-emergencies or, in an emergency, call 999.

Where you are litter picking

Think about the area you are planning to litter pick. You must:

  • not litter pick on private land
  • stick to pavements, paths and walkways
  • not litter pick on roads without a footpath
  • not litter pick near carriageways or roads that have a speed limit over 30mph
  • avoid dangerous areas such as steep slopes and areas close to rivers.

What to do with litter pick bags and fly tipping

Depending on where you find the waste, different teams are responsible for removing it. 

If you find the waste on:

  • highways and footpaths, waste services will collect this
  • green spaces and parks, the Greenspace team will collect this
  • private land, you should report it to the council but not remove it (this includes housing associations).

To arrange a collection, email the engagement team at

Before your litter pick

When planning a litter pick you should:

  • only litter pick when weather conditions are fair, if it is warm, bring suncream and hats
  • wear appropriate clothing and footwear (no open toed shoes) and if possible, a reflective hi-visibility waistcoat
  • take gloves
  • take enough to drink
  • avoid litter picking alone
  • let someone know where you are going and when you are coming back
  • carry hand sanitiser and take a first aid kit
  • take a charged mobile phone in case of emergency.

Litter picking and young people

When litter picking with young people, you must:

  • make sure they are always accompanied by a responsible adult
  • give them and their adult a detailed briefing before the litter picking starts
  • make sure they wear gloves and use equipment correctly
  • limit litter picking to 1 hour.

Report litter and untidy land

If you see litter on council owned land or untidy land and gardens, you can report it to us online.

Report litter on council land

Report untidy land and gardens

Litter picking and Medway Council

Volunteers must understand and accept that participation is entirely at their own risk.

If you wish to know about insurance cover for the activity, you should contact the organiser, not the council.

Volunteers are not working for, or on behalf of Medway Council.

We cannot be held liable for any loss, damage or injury caused because of the actions or omissions of volunteers engaged in this activity.