Health and Safety

East Riding of Yorkshire Council would like to thank all the local litter picking groups in the area, the difference you are making to our environment is immeasurable.

To ensure the systems put in place carry on working effectively we recommend:

  • High visibility vests/clothing and gloves are worn at all times when litter picking and make use of a litter picker, if available.
  • You avoid potentially hazardous objects such as unidentified cans or canisters, oil drums and chemical containers.
  • You avoid sharp objects such as broken glass and disposable barbecues – these should be collected in separate containers, not litter bags.
  • You avoid clinical waste such as needles and syringes – do not attempt to move them yourself. Make a note of their location and inform the council.
  • Be wary/avoid hazardous areas such as deep or fast-flowing water, steep, slippery or unstable banks, sharp rocks, derelict buildings, busy roads and electric fences (which are identified by yellow warning signs).
  • You avoid working alone – try to stay in sight and earshot of others but if not possible then let someone know where you’ve gone and when to expect you back.
  • If collecting waste from private land, you should seek the landowner’s permission, but remember the council have no obligation to remove or pick up waste collected from private land, it remains the responsibility of the landowner.
  • Fly-tipping is reported to the council and not touched or have anything removed as it may contain harmful material or evidence that can be used in a clinical investigation.
  • East Riding fly tipping webpage –
  • Hull fly tipping webpage –
  • Boundary map if you are unsure of the area –
  • Bags are left by council litter bins and your sticker visible.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The ERYC guidelines for volunteer litter picking groups state the following:

High visibility vests/clothing and gloves are worn at all times when litter picking and make use of a litter picker, if available.

High visibility vests

These are important, especially when volunteers are working along roads where motor vehicles or cyclists could pose a danger to them.

The Wombles of Beverley have our own yellow high visibility vests with our logo on the back. There are many of these being used daily which show our old logo, but there are plans to produce more vests with our brand-new blue logo. Please watch out for news about these and how to obtain one!


Even if you are using a litter picker, there are occasions when you may need to lift pieces of litter from the ground or from within bushes or brambles. You may occasionally come across broken bottles or torn drink cans which have sharp edges.

With these hazards in mind, it is strongly advised that volunteers wear gloves at all times when collecting litter.

Litter picker

One of these devices is recommended so that you can pick up pieces of litter from the ground or within bushes without bending down. There are several different kinds of pickers, with prices ranging from about £5 to over £20.
Of course, you usually get what you pay for!

Try The Refill Jar – they sell one of the best litter pickers at close to half the normal retail price!

For small pickers suitable for children – search for children’s litter pickers.


Litter Bag Hoop

These are, as the name suggests, hoops that are used to hold litter bags fully open so that it is easy to drop litter into the bag. There are several styles of these available for about £10 to £15.

Safety goggles

If you are litter picking next to hedges or fields where there are brambles or prickly bushes, take extreme care, especially regarding protecting your eyes and face. In these situations, it is strongly recommended that you wear protective goggles such as the examples shown below.

Prices are around £5 to £15. The dearer ones are usually anti-misting so they don’t fog up in wet weather.