Clean Up Australia inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment. It is a great event that all school community members can be involved in and is a great way to start term 1 of the school year.

Clean Up Australia Day is held on the first Sunday in March each year. Schools can register to run a clean-up event within their community or they can register to be involved with the School’s Clean Up Day held on the Friday prior to the community clean up event. Head to the Clean Up Australia website for more information.

About the Organisation:

In 1989 an 'average Australian bloke' had a simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard, Sydney Harbour. This simple idea has now become the nation's largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day.


Registering a Clean Up Event

There are two options to get your school community involved in a clean-up event

1. Register a School Clean Up day on the Friday prior to the community clean up event organise your own date

2. Register a Community Clean Up event on the first Sunday in March. 

Free Manual

The contents on this page can be downloaded as a free pdf manual. The pdf size is 853 KB


school clean up day

Schools Clean Up Day


School Clean Up days are normally conducted on the Friday prior to the Community Clean Up day; however, some schools opt to hold their School Clean Up day on a different day of the week.

Schools Clean Up Day is a fun and engaging way to teach young Australians about the responsible disposal of rubbish, resource recovery and the repercussions of rubbish dumped irresponsibly in the local environment. 

You can register a School Clean Up any day of the year.

Schools Clean Up Day is aimed at children typically up to the age of 12. Schools with children predominantly above this age are asked to register as a Youth Group. 

The Clean Up Australia website provides free resources to schools, such as the School Clean Up Toolkit and Lesson Plans. Clean Up Australia has now partnered with, so Teachers can download free lesson plans (about waste management), SMARTboard lessons, digital worksheets and a host of other resources to teach lessons that will last a lifetime.

Each lesson is explicitly aligned with the Australian Curriculum and addresses the cross curricula priorities and general capabilities. Not only do the units include rigorous classroom learning opportunities, they also have a number of action-based learning lessons where students collaboratively plan their clean up day activities and other environmental projects 

Things we Learned Running a Schools Clean Up Day

1. Most Teachers involved preferred to run the event from 2pm to 3pm (at the end of the school day).

2. Ask for more bags from Clean Up Australia, or alternatively, try your local council tip as they will normally have them on supply for the Clean Up Australia Day. We allocated 2 bags for each class: One bag for landfill waste and one bag for recyclable waste. 

3. Write the name of the class on each bag so that they can be easily identified when conducting a waste audit later.

4. Write a letter to each classroom Teacher (template letter available). The letter should show the date and time of your School Clean Up Day. Also included within the letter should be a map of the school outside area, showing the location where each class will be collecting litter. The letter will also explain what to do with the bags at the end of the collection period. They can be left outside of each classroom door or take to a specified location. Also ensure you let each class Teacher know that the use of disposable plastic gloves is to be discouraged. 

“On our very first Schools Clean Up Day, we noticed that one classroom had distributed plastic disposable gloves to each student. At the end of the School Clean Up, the gloves were thrown into the landfill collection bag. As a result, there were more plastic gloves than there was litter collected by this particular class. For successive Clean Ups, we learned to advise the Teachers to not provide disposable plastic gloves to the students. As some Teachers thought it necessary that their students wear gloves, we made a decision purchase reusable children’s sized garden gloves for future School Clean Up Days. These proved to be a good investment as these gloves were later used for the planting of trees on National Tree Day. Purchasing gloves for every student is usually not economically viable so we just provided a couple pairs to each class. This way, who ever was wearing the gloves was responsible for collecting the “messy” stuff.  Also, in our communication to students and families about the School Clean Up Day, we mentioned that any student wishing to wear gloves was to bring in their own pair.” Alternatively, a couple of tongs provided to each class works well in place of gloves

5. Promote your Schools Clean Up Day! Make an announcement on a parade day which is closest to the day of the event. This parade presentation is a good opportunity to teach the children how to sort their waste into the correct bags; learning to identify what items are recyclable.  

6. Be sure to complete the end of Clean Up Report

There is an optional “Rubbish Survey” that can be completed from the Clean Up Report. We found this survey to be too in-depth and complicated for a Schools Clean Up, so we created our own survey for each classroom (template provided). Note: This survey can be completed by the students at another time or completed by the school sustainability team. Conducting this survey individually for each class can identify the “problem areas” of litter within the school grounds so that action can be take to eliminate or reduce the litter. For example, you might identify that more waste bins are required in a particular area of the school or that waste is blowing out of bins with no lids. You may also begin to identify the most littered items, and then come up with solutions to eliminate these particular items. For example, plastic straw wrappers seem to be a big problem at the school we surveyed and recommendations were put in place to ban tetra juice boxes (Poppers).



Clean Up Australia Day-In Your Community


Clean Up Australia Day is conducted on the first Sunday in March each year. Your school can register to organize an event in your community; bringing the school community and local community together.

Get involved with Clean Up Australia as a member of the Community. 

Community includes individuals, friends, family, faith-based groups, local community groups and more!

You have to be over 18 to register a Clean Up event but anyone can take part!

Great site choices include local parks, beaches, rivers, shared outdoor spaces and more.

We send you a kit with everything you need to get started for your Clean Up event. 

Look around your community for areas you think could use a clean-up, such as local beaches, parks, bushland, outdoor areas and more.

The Clean Up Australia organization will send you a starter kit with materials including bags, gloves and some paperwork which will make organising and participating in your clean up event easy, fun and safe for everyone involved.

You can check out everything you need to do to organise a successful Clean Up here.

Things we Learned Running a Community Clean Up Day

1. First, get approval from your school Principal, P&C committee or “other powers that be” to run your event.

2. Timing your event is crucial because if you live in a hot area, you will want to ensure that your volunteers are not collecting litter in the hottest part of the day. Also, if you plan to run your event all day, ensure your volunteers know that they do not have to stay all day and that one to two hours of their time is greatly appreciated (or whatever amount of time they can offer). Because our event was held in an area that got quite warm by the afternoon, we decided to hold the event from 7:00am to 9:30am.

3. Promote your event to your local paper/s. Provide a press release (template provided)

4. Contact your local councilor, Mayor, national and federal politician about your event and invite them. They love a good photo opp.

5. Organise your local fire brigade and other community organisations/businesses to participate.

6. Ask for more bags from Clean Up Australia, or alternatively, try your local council tip as they will normally have them on supply for the Clean Up Australia Day. Unused bags can always be returned to your local tip (or where you collected them).

7. Set up signs outside your school promoting your community clean up event. Have these signs visible for a week leading up to your event. Provide local businesses with posters to promote the event. 

8. Set up a meeting point at your school. Ensure it will be in an area that the general public can easily find. Organise a volunteer to run this table and to meet volunteering community members as they arrive throughout the day. Provide informational poster about your clean up event. Information to provide:

· Sign on/Registration form (provided by CUA)

· Time of event

· Safety procedures (provided by CUA)

· What to do with bags when they are full or if they run out of bags. Provide phone numbers of persons collecting the bags (encourage community volunteers to take a photo on their phones)

· How to sort the waste

· A map of areas to clean up. This makes it easier for volunteers to determine where they will go to clean up and provides you with important data of sites cleaned

9. Organise a volunteer to drive around collecting the full bags. To ensure community members do not have to keep coming back to the meeting point to return full bags and to collect new empty bags, tell your volunteers to take an extra bag with them and to leave full bags at the side of the road.

10. Providing snacks for your event adds a nice touch and is a nice way to thank your volunteers, however, be mindful of the snacks that you provide. For example, you will want to provide snacks that model and promote sustainable development, so this means snacks with little to no packaging (plastic litter will likely be a big issue in your community). This means avoiding plastic water bottles, poppers, and other heavily packaged items. Set up your table near drink fountains at the school and encourage volunteers to refill their useable water bottles with the tap water. Alternatively, you can organize a chilled water station for your event (ie. Your local council may be able to provide this or other organisations such as Unity Water can provide this).

Modelling a sustainable food system also means sourcing chemical free/organic fruit and reduced red meat, or no red meat. This may mean rethinking the good old Aussie bar-b-que.

Water melon and bananas are a healthy option for a snack table. Check with the families at your school to see if they have excess fruit from their gardens that they might be able to donate. Alternatively, ask a local organic farm to donate food items. 

11. Organise volunteers for the audit to be conducted at the end of the event