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3 Tips For A More Successful Neighborhood Cleanup

If you dread looking at your street and surrounding neighborhood every time you pull into your driveway or even glance through your front window, it may be time to take action by spearheading a neighborhood cleanup day. These events can help foster community spirit while transforming the area into a place everyone can be proud to live in. Here are three useful tips for helping you guide your cleanup effort to fruition.

1. Get Groups and Associations Involved

It takes a village to clean a neighborhood. Obviously, you'll want the full involvement of your neighbors, who hopefully will be motivated to help by the thought of their own residential area looking nice and clean. But not everyone will be willing or available to participate in a cleanup initiated by a single concerned individual -- especially if there are equipment and supplies to be paid for. That's why you need the support and sanction of local groups and associations.

Your own neighborhood association is the natural starting point to find support and assistance for your neighborhood cleanup project. This organization can promote the event and drum up interest through word of mouth, flyer distribution and frequent mentions on the association's website (including listings on its calendar of upcoming events). But you're not limited to your neighborhood association; you can also seek out support from community and non-profit organizations that might be willing to donate funds or volunteer their own labors for the cleanup. You can even use the power and reach of social media to broadcast your cleanup effort to the general public. 

2. Rent a Dedicated Dumpster

Once you have gathered your small army of cleanup volunteers, you'll need to make sure that all the garbage actually has somewhere to go. Simply discarding it in your weekly trash pickup receptacles will overload those receptacles in a hurry, interfering with people's ability to take out their daily trash and ultimately making the neighborhood look even uglier. A more practical approach is to rent a dumpster to hold all that extra material. Dumpsters can be especially useful for containing oversized debris such as cut tree branches or rusty old lawn decorations.

Keep in mind that all dumpster rentals are not created equal. The size of the unit and the duration of the rental period are key factors in what you'll pay, so if you want to spend less than $100, make sure you're getting a smaller unit for a single day. Get a roll-off unit (one equipped with wheels) so you can move this heavy receptacle around more safely and easily.

3. Be Ready to Transport Certain Items

Some items cannot legally go into a dumpster. These include fuels, solvents and other dangerous chemicals as well as the items built to contain them, such as freon-using refrigeration units or lead-acid batteries. Fireworks and fully intact tires are also prohibited, as are electronic appliances containing mercury and other potential toxins. As a result, you may have a large number of items that need to be transported to a facility that can dispose of them safely.

If you're lucky, you may have access to a local service that will drop by your neighborhood and pick up the offending items for you. In other cases, however, you should be ready to transport them yourself. You can engage neighborhood volunteers to load up their pickup trucks or vans, or you can rent a vehicle expressly for this purpose -- but whatever you do, get this issue resolved before cleanup day. You also need to know where to take your refuse. Many electronics stores and manufactures can take TVs, computers and other items off your hands, especially if they're part of the EPA's Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge. Transport dangerous fluids and other items to your community's nearest hazardous waste or chemical collection center. (Remember to bring some kind of documentation proving that you actually live in the community.)

Put these tips to work and your whole community will enjoy a smoother, more successful neighborhood cleanup. Once your neighbors see the results, they may even help you turn it into a recurring event!

For more information and options, talk with a dumpster rental company, such as RMS Containers.