The success of Beach Buddies is based on a handful of simple ideas which make it easy for anyone to get involved and to create an effective and long-term solution to the problem of litter. If you want to create a Beach Buddies group anywhere in the world (and it doesn’t even have to be on a beach) we are happy to give you as much support and advice as we can.
Our experience since creating Beach Buddies in 2006 has been to keep it simple, make it a fun activity with a purpose, to educate young people in particular, and to inspire other individuals and groups to follow the lead.
We have achieved worldwide acclaim in the Isle of Man (British Isles) for our achievements and you can do the same wherever you live in the world. Follow our guidelines and you will quickly see amazing results . . .
No 1: Set an Example:
You may think the problem in your part of the world is overwhelming. Do not be deterred. Even if you start with only a very small number of volunteers you will surprise yourself by what can be achieved very quickly. Even one person collecting rubbish will make a difference.
No 2: Organise an event:
Use social media, your local newspaper and radio station to inform the public that a clean-up campaign has started in your area. Organise a venue, ask volunteers to bring gloves and bags, and make sure you take away the items collected. You could even organise a company or family event and invite your colleagues and friends to get involved. And you can ask your local authority / government department to get involved by removing the rubbish afterwards. Always do your best to recycle as many of the items collected as possible. • Keep the event to a maximum of 90 minutes. People will not come back again if you keep them there for hours on end.
No 3: Organise a second event as soon as possible:
Lots of community clean-up events around the world have failed because of lack of enthusiasm and the difficulty in engaging with the public. This can be overcome simply by immediately organising a new event immediately after the first has ended. Even if only a small number of people get involved initially don’t worry. It might take a while to get a reliable team together. The rubbish is not going away, and you need to be in this for the long-term.
No 4: Speak to schools and local companies:
Children are very enthusiastic to get involved. Our experience is that children want to do something positive about the mess they have inherited from adults. Education is the best answer to resolving this situation. And you will find that local companies will want to support you too. Encourage them to give support by buying litterpickers, gloves and bags (very low cost) and give them publicity in your media coverage and online.
No 5: Keep records of your achievements:
From Day One you MUST take photographs, keep records of the amount of rubbish you collect and the number of volunteers who attend. As the group grows, keep a record of the number of new volunteers at each event. These statistics give you credibility and professionalism and will be invaluable in the future.
No 6: Create social media connections:
We live in a world where social media rules. Use it to your advantage. It will help attract volunteers, give you good publicity and it’s a great record of achievements.
No 7: Take photographs:
When Beach Buddies was created in 2006 we took photographs before even one piece of rubbish was removed. This has since proved to be a huge bonus as it is clear evidence of what is was like then – and now. If you don’t take photographs you will find that the public won’t believe you.
No 8: Keep statistics:
Keep a record of the amount of rubbish you collect (e.g. the number of bags, the type of items found and perhaps even find a very old item with a verifiable date to show how long it has been there. (take a photograph too!). Again, if you don’t keep statistics you will find that the public won’t believe you.
No 9: Engage with the media:
If you can get publicity for what you are doing then it will make a huge difference to attracting volunteers. Local media, in particular, are usually very keen to support community initiatives. Use this to your advantage. And keep a record of the publicity you receive, including newspaper cuttings and screenshots of social media pages.
No 10: Don’t Give Up – ever!:
The problem of rubbish in the environment cannot be under-estimated. The world is in a mess and it’s the public who are mainly responsible, because we dump our rubbish in the street. This is a community problem, created by the community, and it demands a community response. The results of setting up a Beach Buddies group will make you feel good!!