This September, UK volunteers can join free activities in exchange for removing litter from nature as part of a global clean up.

Volunteers can join activities from yoga to parkour and pay in the form of a ‘nature tax’ - collecting rubbish and recording it on an app.

Girl organising recycling

The initiative, coordinated by Plastic Patrol, is set to take place across the UK as well as the rest of Europe, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico and the USA.

It will take place as part of World Clean Up Day, which aims to eradicate single use plastic, and the data recorded will be analysed by the University of Nottingham.

The founder of Plastic Patrol, Lizzie Carr, set up the initiative after paddle boarding the length of England’s waterways and removing plastic along the way.

Plastic patrol clean up
Plastic pollution has become a global problem (Photo by: Plastic Patrol)

She began this challenge after her cancer diagnosis, and believes that if people experience the severity of the plastic crisis first hand whilst performing activities, this will inspire them to make a change.

Lizzie said: “Litter picking alone is not the solution. It’s an interim measure, and to make it more impactful it must be combined with citizen science.

By extracting important data from pollution we find in nature it enables us to build a powerful evidence base that illustrates key problems - from leakages in the circular economy to holes in the recycling infrastructure - and develop ways to address them.

By running a global series of clean ups to mark World Clean Up Day we are continuing to grow our existing repository of data and gathering more insight to help us find solutions.”

What will happen in the Clean Up?

In the UK, the Plastic Patrol Clean Up combines activities with environmental action.

This means that volunteers take part in free activities, from yoga and plogging to parkour, and pay in the form of a nature tax – collecting any rubbish found and recording it on the Plastic Patrol app (available on android and iOS).

Uniting individuals worldwide to litter pick and log findings in the app enables Plastic Patrol to gather real-time, scientifically robust data, which will then be used to make changes.

It's hoped that volunteers will remove a whopping 250,000 pieces of rubbish from natural areas in 24 hours.

How can I get involved?

To find out more information or book a space on a clean up visit the Plastic Patrol website.

This year's World Cleanup Day is taking place on the 21st September.


Find out more about Lizzie Carr on her website, Lizzie Outside.