Community litter collections

UPDATE: August 2020

To our community litter clean up volunteers
MCMC and Friends of Merri Creek applaud your continued efforts to keep the Merri Creek and its tributaries liberated from the accumulation of plastics, polystyrene and other human made detritus that sadly comes through the stormwater drains, is purposely dumped or thoughtlessly discarded.

Due to the current Stage 4 restrictions in Greater Melbourne we won’t be supporting litter clean ups, even as part of daily exercise, at this time.

When out for your walks, if you do see a large amount of dumped litter you can download the Snap, Send, Solve app and report the dumping there. This will get forwarded to the nearest council who will respond.

To keep up to date on the Merri Creek Litter Clean Up Program (also known as the Rapid Response to Litter after Rainfall you can):

  • Subscribe to the MCMC Litter Clean Ups email list
  • Like and follow @MerriCreekLitterCleans Ups COVID style Facebook page
  • Get familiar with the safety procedures below.

Current Health advice around COVID-19 stage 4 restrictions.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to get rid of litter, and the important work of collecting data on the types and amounts of litter within the Catchment very soon!

Stay safe and well.


There is lots of enthusiasm for planning an event with your local community to remove litter from the Merri Creek, particularly after a large rainfall event – usually when large amounts of litter accumulates.|
The Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) encourage this activity, as long as people are following safety precautions.

If you register your Clean Up event with the Friends of Merri Creek and adhere to our Occupational Health & Safety processes, a number of benefits are open to your Clean Up event. These include your event being covered under our public liability insurance, promotion of your event, access to our Clean Up kit, advice and other resources.

Thankyou for supporting litter collecting activities along Merri Creek – it all helps downstream too.

Successful litter collection, Merri Parade, Northcote.

Successful litter collection, Merri Parade, Northcote.

What about Clean Up Australia Day?
Friends of Merri Creek Litter Clean Ups
Organising your own Clean Up
The Day Before
On the Day
After the Clean Up


What about Clean Up Australia Day?
Clean Up Australia have a great website and lots of resources to help set up a community clean up day. Besides the National Clean Up Australia Day (CUAD) on the first Sunday of March, the CUAD team also encourage community to arrange litter pick-ups anytime Every Day Clean Up. If you register your site and event with CUAD they will also provide safety information, a clean up kit and other resources and advice.
Using the CUAD resources is a great idea, but they will not know which Merri Creek safe sites need litter removed, nor do they collect specific information on what litter has been collected.


Friends of Merri Creek Litter Clean Ups
I want to be involved but don’t want to organise my own Clean Up event. Are there Clean Up events I can just go along to?

Yes! The Friends of Merri Creek organise monthly litter pickups during the year.

  • They are advertised on our website calendar and Friends of Merri Creek Facebook page.
    All ages are welcome to join us (children must be supervised). We also advertise other community litter Clean Up events.
    You can subscribe to hear about litter Clean Up days and our other events.
  • Go along to a Clean Up Australia Day event. Find ones on the Merri Creek by searching here.


Organising your own Clean Up
If you would like to organise your own community Clean Up event, there are just a few things we’d ask you to do:

  • Contact our Rapid Response to litter project coordinator Julia Cirillo,; 9380 8199. Julia is based at Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC).
  • Provide details on your litter Clean Up event and we can help promote it to your local community and ensure your event is covered under our public liability insurance to protect your volunteers.
  • You can borrow our litter Clean Up kit with safety information, advice on litter disposal and safe sites on the Merri Creek to conduct your Clean Up event.
  • Call and organise with your local Council to arrange pick up of your collected litter. Check the Council contacts for litter removal within the Merri Creek Catchment for more information and contact details.


What do I need to do to ensure I run a safe Clean Up Event, especially after a large rainfall event?

The Day before the event

  • Check weather conditions. If there has been a major rain event, water can still rise a few days afterwards.
  • Conduct a site safety assessment of the site you have chosen. After heavy rain, large deposits of mud, puddles and slippery surfaces are left behind. You need to be aware of these hazards to inform your participants on the day.
  • Clean Up Australia Day has a great Site guide safety checklist to help you with setting up a Clean Up event that covers all safety considerations.
  • The Victorian Litter Action Alliance (VLAA) also has great Fact sheets on Safety tips for litter surveys and litter clean ups.
  • Remind and encourage participants to bring gloves, wear sunscreen, sensible clothes (hat, trousers, long sleeves, waterproof and sturdy, covered footwear. Wear a hat and sunscreen on hot, sunny days and bring water.


On the Day

  • Give all participants a safety induction using documents below – they are included in the Clean Up Kit.
  • Use the FoMC activity registration form to record your participants. If preferred, Julia can arrange an online sign in form so you can get participants to sign in via your tablet at site or on participant’s smart phones.
  • Where possible nominate a participant to record what litter you have collected. As part of our citizen science responsibilities, and to determine the main sources of litter, FoMC are contributing to the Australia wide database managed by Tangaroa Blue. This database stores information on litter removed from waterways and coastal areas. You can use the Tangaroa Blue litter data form or download the Tangoroa Blue litter app from your app store.
  • Never collect litter in the creek itself. Make sure you warn participants of any safety issues you found when completing your site assessment.
  • Be safe!! Stick to the banks and warn participants that the banks get slippery after rain. Vegetation along creek banks can’t always be walked through – look for hazards such as covered holes, fallen dead trees, slippery rocks, steep banks, blackberry patches, and snakes.
  • Friends of Merri Creek encourage recycling of any uncontaminated litter especially clean plastic bottles. To recycle, you need to separate the recyclables from the other litter and organise members of your Clean Up crew to take them home to their own bins to recycle.Check the Council contacts for litter removal within the Merri Creek Catchment to see if your Council will separate and pick up recyclables. Bring along plastic or reusable bags to sort your collection into and keep separate bags for recycling and waste. To learn what can and can’t be recycled visit your local council’s recycling page.


After your litter event

  • Email your council contact with specific details and a photo of where to pick up litter.
    Here is an example email: “Dear— please find attached a photo of the litter we have collected from our Clean Up event today. We have — bags of rubbish and – of recyclables (if relevant) to be picked up at e.g. 2 Lee Street, Brunswick West”.
  • Make sure you leave litter near a road that a truck could access and can be clearly seen to make pick up easier.
  • Return any equipment, filled out registration form, Tangaroa Blue data sheet (if not using the app) and report any safety concerns to Julia Cirillo at MCMC.


Friends of Merri Creek Clean Up Kit
FoMC activity registration form
FoMC Site selection safety planning checklist
DHS safe disposal of needles and syringes 2012
Safe handling of syringes – Tangaroa Blue
FoMC snake bite first aid
Council Contacts and advice on litter pick ups during COVID restrictions May 2020


Final litter tally

Final litter tally.