More than 400,000 volunteer litter pickers pledge to join the Great British Spring Clean

When it comes to boundless energy and enthusiasm for protecting our environment, you can always count on youngsters.

And more than 100,000 have now pledged to join the Great British Spring Clean – a quarter of the 400,000 in total who have signed up.

The campaign to clean up Britain by Keep Britain Tidy – backed by the Mail – can count on superb support from the young generation.

We’re the young generation: Pupils from Damers First School near Dorchester pick up litter on Chesil Beach in Dorset for the Great British Spring Clean. There are 428,720 volunteers partaking in the annual clean and 20,000 so-called Eco-Schools registered throughout the country

Thousands of youngsters between nursery age and 18 have pledged to carry out litter picks in and around their schools between March 20 to April 13, ridding their local areas of discarded rubbish and waste. The children, along with their teachers, have provided an incredible boost to our volunteer numbers which now stands at 428,720.

In all there are more than 9,400 litter picks organised across the UK, so there is bound to be one near you.

But if there is not, it is simple to organise one and get your friends and neighbours and children involved. As the following examples show, youngsters are certainly leading the charge to make Britain’s schools more eco-friendly by planting vegetable patches, carrying out litter picking missions and taking part in woodwork lessons.

Pick-up: Cardinal Allen pupils in Lancashire. After years of hard work at the school in  Fleetwood, Lancashire, the grounds are now among the most biodiverse in the area

Pick-up: Cardinal Allen pupils in Lancashire. After years of hard work at the school in  Fleetwood, Lancashire, the grounds are now among the most biodiverse in the area

Alongside the usual curriculum they also ‘adopt’ bees, churn apples to make their own juice and even meditate to create a calm environment.

There are now an incredible 20,000 so-called Eco-Schools registered in the UK – a designation only awarded after a school has made changes to lessons and daily activities. This milestone figure means that England is now home to 40 per cent of the total number of Eco-Schools in the world, which are as widespread as the US, China and India.

Each year, awards are handed out to schools and children who have made the biggest difference.Last year’s Primary School award went to Damers First School in Dorset. As well as taking part in a beach litter pick, pupils raised money for their own bird hide and wildlife area and encouraged 20 local businesses to allow free water bottle refills.

Pupils even created their own beeswax alternative to Clingfilm and raised £4,000 by selling it locally. The money helped fund further eco-projects.

Heswall Primary School on the Wirral, Merseyside, won the Biodiversity award for their part in creating a film highlighting the importance of animal conservation. And after years of hard work at Cardinal Allen High School in Fleetwood, Lancashire, the grounds are now among the most biodiverse in the area.

This year alone, pupils planted a hedgerow, seeded a one-acre wildflower meadow and secured £3,000 to help encourage bees.

Youngsters also enjoy a new orchard allotment, bug hotels, hedgehog nests and bat boxes. Meanwhile, an enormous art installation of a whale made entirely of plastic bags was built by pupils at Sutton High School in south London, earning them the Marine Topic award.

The Eco-Schools programme in England is run by Keep Britain Tidy, which is also running the Great British Spring Clean campaign with the Daily Mail.

There are around 51,000 Eco-Schools worldwide, and the programme is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: ‘It is an astonishing achievement to have 20,000 schools – almost 80 per cent of all the schools in England – signed up to the programme.

‘It shows just how committed both teachers and pupils are to tackling the climate crisis and the plastic pollution that present such a threat to our environment.

‘The success of the programme, which is reaching more than five million children and young people, gives us hope for the future.’

‘Children and young people are leading the way when it comes to standing up for our environment.’

It’s easy to join the Great British Spring Clean: to sign up go to the website here.

How you can get involved  

How do I join?

Go to and choose an option:

  • You can ‘pledge to pick’, which means picking up as much litter as you like, whenever you like, at any point during the campaign;
  • Host a clean-up, either a private event with friends, family, a community group, colleagues or an open event that other people can join;
  • Join an organised clean-up. In the coming weeks groups will be set up and their details added to an interactive online map. Click on the map to find details and email the organiser to tell them you’d like to join.

What does it involve?

We are asking volunteers to separate litter into three bags: One for plastic bottles, one for aluminium cans and one for all other rubbish.

Who can join in?

Everyone and anyone! We’re aiming to inspire thousands of volunteers – in partnership with community organisations, businesses and councils – to collect and dispose of litter from our streets, parks and beaches, recycling as much as possible.

What’s a pledge?

It’s a way of recording your interest, support and involvement. You simply need to be able to pick up litter – even one piece per day during the campaign is one less littering our environment. Many people who join our campaign are completely new to litter-picking so this is a great way to start.

What happens when I sign up?

When you sign up to the Great British Spring Clean you can keep track of everything on your own personalised online ‘dashboard’. This is your space to add litter-picks, get access to useful guides and find out what to do with your rubbish. You can also use it after your clean-up to record your results.

How do I join an existing clean-up?

Go to and search our interactive map to find a public event in your area. Once you register to ‘join the clean-up’ an email will be sent to the event organiser with your details. They will then liaise with you directly.

How do I host a litter-pick?

We’ve written seven useful guides to different aspects of the process. These include registering your event, finding a great location, promoting it (with social media templates you can use), and information about equipment, collection and recycling. There are also details about health and safety, as well as public liability insurance. Please do read through the guides which tell you everything you need to know. We ask hosts to return to the website after each event to let us know how much litter was collected.

How do I register a private clean-up?

If you’re keen to organise a private group of friends, family or colleagues, just select the ‘private group’ option when you register. This means you will have access to a comprehensive guide with information on how to organise your event and advice on running a pick-up. You can organise as many as you want between March 20 and April 13.

What about equipment?

If you need kit – litter-pickers, high-vis vests, bags, gloves – your local authority may be able to help. This is also available at Wilko stores and from March 11. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately with sturdy footwear, gloves and, ideally, a vest. Never pick up needles – let the organiser know and they will contact the council to remove them. If you find broken glass, put it in a bucket or leave it.

How can I spread the word?

Aim to recruit friends, family or colleagues to join you – this is a great way to spend time together and enjoy some fresh air. Follow Keep Britain Tidy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or subscribe on YouTube to keep track of others and share posts from your own account using the hashtag #GBSpringClean. You can also choose to fundraise to support the wider work of Keep Britain Tidy.