How to 'Pick it up' Safely

Fast facts:

We are witnessing a significant increase in wildlife becoming injured and impacted by litter entering their native ecosystems. While our shared goal is to keep our wildlife safe, we too need to make sure we are staying safe while picking it up.

How to pick it up safely

Here are some tips and tricks to make your Rubbish Run efforts not only fun, but safe.

What to wear

  • Dress in comfortable active wear and make sure you wear enclosed shoes or runners.
  • Be sun safe! Don’t forget to wear a hat, sunglasses and apply SPF50 sun protection.

What to bring

  • Gloves for picking up litter or if you don’t want to wear gloves, make sure you use hand sanitiser before, during and after your clean up.
  • Rubbish bags for litter collection.
  • On hot days or if you intend to go for a longer walk/run take a water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • If picking it up at night pack a torch. Or wear a head torch/lamp.

Avoid muscle aches and pain

  • You will get fitter when you remove the litter! Please note, will be bending frequently and to avoid lower back pain and injury make sure you bend from the knees and lunge it out. A good lunge can help you achieve a strong and more stable core.
  • Here‘s a link to correct lunging techniques: Click here

What to look out for

  • Avoid busy highways and be mindful of vehicles when picking up litter near the curb.
  • Stay away from any dangerous items or anything which poses a potential health hazard such as syringes, broken glass, razor blades. Also don’t touch chemical /poisons containers even if they are labelled.
  • Don’t try and collect large household items that have been dumped. Not only will they be too heavy to lift but could be hazardous.
  • Rubbish that has been left in the environment for some time, can sometimes act as a habitat for animals, particular marine animals. Be mindful of the potential impacts of removal if it looks like the rubbish may have become their new home. You can always call WIRES on 1300 794 737 to safely remove these items and protect wildlife. Be mindful of snakes and spiders on or under logs or piles of rubbish.


  • If you plan to visit or explore a new area, plan ahead and let someone know where you’re going.
  • Call 000 in an emergency.

Other tips

  • Give yourself a challenge by setting a goal. For instance, set a goal to pick up 50 cans on your daily run. It may sound like a lot, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your bag fills up.
  • Head to the beach. According to the National Ocean Service, as much as 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from the land. Picking up litter along the shores will not only help reduce ocean pollution, but it’s also a great workout exercising on the sand.
  • Make it a social event - Bring together your friends, not only will you have more fun but you will pick up more!