Without intentional efforts, neighborhoods will slowly accumulate trash and fall into disrepair. They don’t maintain themselves after all. This means that communities need to develop a methodology and take action if they are to maintain a clean, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing neighborhood.
There are a lot of things that can be done to keep everything ship-shape. And there are all kinds of advantages to this beyond simple appearances. If residents want their property values to rise, it helps if the whole neighborhood is spic and span.
However, people are busy and money is tighter than ever these days. Therefore, it’s important to have an idea of the quickest and most effective methods for this end.
Host Regular Community Cleanup Events
To get the job done you’re going to need to organize. If everyone gets involved, the task of cleaning and maintaining the neighborhood can be completed in short order. So creating regular community cleanups is the best and most efficient way of getting it done. To do so, however, takes a lot of planning and hard work.
The first step is to find some people in your residential area that have the same views and ideas about maintaining a clean environment. It helps if at least a few of them have some influence in the area. Once you identify a few allies, assemble them into a task force. Charge the task force with a list of to-dos and start developing the cleanup events.
That means getting the word out and motivating everyone to get to work. If you have an HOA, you’ll need to bring it up with them of course. Then they might take it from there. However, if you come from an unregulated neighborhood, you’ll need to go door to door and it helps to share flyers in the highly-trafficked hotspots in the vicinity.
And of course, you’ll need lots of supplies for the actual events. If you’re focusing primarily on trash, you’ll need plentiful quantities of trash bags, gloves, and even cleaning supplies. If you’re cleaning up graffiti or extremely filthy areas, like large oil stains or neglected trash piles, you’ll need some fairly caustic cleaning agents and stiff-bristled brushes. You’ll also need a place to pile up all the trash. If that’s the case, it’s time to consider dumpster rentals, as piling up the trash unprotected and waiting for the trash man probably means a good portion of it is going to end up back out on the street again due to weather or scavengers. You’ll need to elaborate with your neighbors about why it’s important and the advantages it brings.
More importantly, you’ll need to make it fun if possible. There are lots of ways to do this. For example, pizza or snacks could be provided, or perhaps the organizers could even plan a block party for the evening after everyone cleans up as a reward.
A neighborhood-wide pizza party and all those supplies aren’t going to pay for themselves though. So don’t forget to find some sponsors privately or from some local businesses that might want to build some goodwill with a whole neighborhood of potential customers.
Encourage Good Habits
The best way to improve the cleanliness of your neighborhood is to not let it get filthy in the first place. To do that, the community needs to have a certain degree of social consciousness and the willingness to improve their domicile. This is akin to returning to the basics and appealing to our common sense. Public service announcements should be devised to remind people of the importance of throwing away their trash correctly and recycling whenever possible.
The biggest issues here are improper storage of trash and carelessness. Properly storing trash means using high-quality bags and keeping them inside a barrel or large trash bin to protect them from would-be scavengers. These seem like small details, but cheap and improperly stored trash will ultimately end up blowing all over your neighborhood again. Even properly stored rubbish may be ripped open when sanitation comes to remove it. So be prepared to clean up after trash day every week.
There are lots of other common-sense ways to achieve this goal. Encouraging the local supermarkets to charge for plastic bags and give discounts for those who bring their cloth bags will also reduce the amount of errant plastic bags blowing around the neighborhood. People doing DIY projects need to be extra-mindful to do things in smart and courteous ways. For instance, when using spray paint, laying down proper coverage under the item will prevent overspray from leaving strange multi-colored outlines from littering the driveways.
Establish a Waste Disposal System
People will only do what is convenient for them. For that reason, it’s important to do as much as possible to make waste disposal and recycling a painful ordeal. One such way to do this is to install trash cans in the most frequented places so that guests and residents can easily dispose of their miscellaneous trash. It also makes it a lot easier to pick up errant trash that residents notice along their normal daily walks and outdoor activities.
There are several good places to place community trash cans. Some of the best places are at crosswalks, around all community areas, and especially around parks. Just having these available will guarantee that a higher percentage of the community’s trash will end up properly disposed of. This is true of all proactive methods that are implemented. If the system of waste disposal is easy to understand and maintain, people will begin to do it habitually and without notice.
Keeping a Clean Neighborhood Is Easy
There is nothing complicated about keeping a neighborhood clean in theory. All it takes is a willingness to get it done. However, there is nothing simple about organizing your community to complete the efforts. Nonetheless, it can be done with a little creativity and understanding. Make the whole ordeal fun and be sure to explain the benefits. Using this two-fold method, most people should be willing to get on board. And if not, don’t stress. It may just take a little time to catch on.