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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

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Supported by Generation Green

Litter splitter

Explore how the items we use in everyday life can affect the world around us and hunt out the litter around you.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Strong gloves
  • Litter pickers (optional)
  • Rubbish bags
  • Hand sanitising gel
Activity Plan Litter Splitter
PDF – 352.4KB

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Choose a safe area to do your litter pick. You’ll need an area away from any roads or steep banks, for example. Don’t forget to tell parents and carers if young people will need to meet at (or be picked up from) somewhere different.
  • Use your risk assessment to help identify any other hazards, such as sharp objects. Make sure you include any more unusual hazards too. Make sure you’ll have enough adult supervision for the activity and don’t forget to plan how you’ll safely clean items so you can recycle them. An adult might need to do the cleaning.
  • Tell everyone to wear suitable clothing and footwear. Make sure you have suitable gloves that will protect everyone’s hands – work or gardening gloves are ideal.
  • If you’re planning a bigger litter pick and need to borrow some equipment, you could get in touch with your local council – they’ll often lend items to groups.
  • If you spot a big problem that’s causing damage or danger to the environment, you should report it on the Government website.

What do we waste?

  1. Everyone should think back to their day. Did they create any waste? What did they do with it? People use a lot of things in their daily lives, so they often end up creating a lot of waste.
  1. Hopefully everyone made sure they put their rubbish in a bin and recycled it or kept it to reuse if they could. Can anyone share an example of something they recycled or have kept to reuse?
  2. Everyone should talk about how some people aren’t responsible with their rubbish. Not everyone makes the effort to find the nearest bin or take it home – some people leave or drop their rubbish, and it becomes litter in the environment. Sometimes people drop litter accidentally, and sometimes it’s blown from bins that are too full.

Get litter hunting

  1. It’s time to explore. Everyone should collect the things they’ll need for their litter pick and think of any ways they want to organise what they find.  
  1. The person leading the activity should make sure that everyone knows how to keep themselves safe on the litter pick by going through some safety tips below.
  2. The person leading the activity should make sure that everyone knows any boundaries for the activity. How far can they explore? When should they come back as a group?
  1. Everyone should get stuck in to litter picking.
  1. While everyone’s litter picking (or once they’ve finished), they talk about what harm the litter may have caused if it was left where they found it.

What did you find?

  1. Everyone should come back together and reflect on what they found. Did they find lots of any particular type of litter? Were there any unusual items? What material was the litter made of?
  1. Everyone should organise the litter they’ve collected and recycle anything they can. Are there any items that could be reused once they’ve been thoroughly cleaned?
  1. Someone should clean the items that can be recycled.
  1. Everyone should wash their hands thoroughly.
  • Always wear gloves or use a litter picker.
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Tell an adult if you see any sharp objects such as broken glass. You’d need to collect broken glass very carefully, and it needs to go in a separate container – not just in a rubbish bag.
  • Don’t pick up needles or syringes, anything with human waste (like nappies), or anything that might contain dangerous chemicals, such as unidentified cans or canisters. If you spot any of these things, record the location and report it to your local council or whoever owns the land.
  • If you’re not sure what something is, don’t pick it up – go and check with an adult.
  • Stay aware of where you are and what’s around you.

It can be tricky to know whether you can recycle something. Look out for these recycling symbols on packaging, as well as any written instructions about how to recycle the item.

You might also come across a TerraCycle symbol. TerraCycle is a scheme which recycles items that you can’t usually recycle, like crisp packets or chocolate wrappers. There are special TerraCycle collection bins in the community.

If you’re not sure whether an item can be recycled, head over to the Recycle Now website. You can look up the item on their ‘what to do with’ pages or enter your postcode to find out all about recycling in your area.


How did everyone feel when they found the litter?  Has anyone noticed any issues with litter in their area? How does it make them feel?


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast, and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

  • Your litter pick can be on any scale. You could stick to the area around your meeting place, or go somewhere like a local park.
  • While you’re litter picking, you could also assess the local waste facilities. How easy is it to find a bin? Are there enough bins? Are there recycling bins available? Could the waste facilities be improved?
  • It’s up to you how much detail you go into when you talk about the impact of litter. Adjust it to fit your group.
  • When choosing a place to do your litter pick, consider the terrain and environment – does it work for everyone?
  • Make sure you have enough adults to give each young person the support they need. How many adults you need will depend on your group.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Explore how long different types of litter take to break down, and learn more about plastics, with Think outside the trash.

You could use your experience to organise a big litter pick with other groups or with the community. You could use your big litter pick to raise awareness around the impact of our waste on the environment. Has anyone noticed an issue in a local area that you could focus on?

Involve everyone in planning the best way to do the litter pick. You could use it as an opportunity to start thinking about different ways you could take action in your community.