Litter Cleanup and Classification

Stewardship and Monitoring Activity

Welcome to the second of FOMR's two Earth Day Staunton activities you can do this year!

Help us clean up litter in our community! Virtually all litter can find its way into our waterways via storm sewers, water runoff or wind. Litter has become a major problem in the world, contaminating our streams, bays and oceans and causing harm to aquatic critters.


While you are out doing Earth Day or spring activities, take the opportunity to collect litter in the public places you visit. By knowing the exact types of litter happening in our community, we can more effectively figure out ways to stop it.

See the full list of all of Earth Day Staunton 2021 activities from all the different organizations HERE!


In a Nutshell


Who: Ages 11 to adult and families!


What: Litter collection and identification/tallying.


After collecting, you will identify and notate the quantity and types of trash you found. Your data will be used locally and also be added into a national database that tracks litter collection.


When: Thru May 17, as frequently as you’d like and when it suits you!


Where: Any location(s) of your choosing in Staunton or Augusta County. Maybe you will clean up around the edges of your school parking lot. Or clean up in Gypsy Hill Park. Or clean up your neighborhood while you walk your dog. Especially important are riparian areas; they are areas along streambanks and adjacent land areas. You choose! Just make sure your parent knows and okays where you plan to collect, if you are underage.

Litter Data Card


  1. Before you collect, have a plan on how you will dispose of what you collect. If you have trash pickup at your house, will you put it out with your regular trash and recycling? Is your parent willing to drive it to the County collection site when they go?

  2. Download and print off the Litter Data Card. Make sure you write your name, phone number and email address on the back of the card! If you cannot print a card, you can request a card from the YMCA.

  3. Dress in bright colors (for road safety) and take a sturdy trash bag with you. You should wear cut-resistant gloves if you have them, or use grabbers to pick up items that you don’t want to touch by hand. Stay safe from trash, traffic and COVID.

  4. Once collected, sort through your trash and mark off each item on your data card. This website has a link to help you identify the trash if you can’t figure out what something is.

  5. Take a selfie of you and your collection and share it with everyone! Use the hashtag #RestoreTheEarthFOMR so we can add your picture to the Friends of the Middle River website.

  6. Once you have identified and tallied the litter you collected, dispose of it in the manner you decided on in #1.

  7. Turn in your tally card at the YMCA. You can do this by scanning and emailing your tally card to Chris at or you can drop it by the YMCA front desk staff. The address is 708 N Coalter St, Staunton, VA 24401, (540) 885-8089. Their hours are on their website at

More Nitty Gritty Details:


Your point of contact for submitting your litter data card, getting limited supplies, or borrowing equipment is Chris at the Staunton YMCA.

          708 N Coalter St., Staunton, VA 24401,

          (540) 885-8089

         YMCA hours are on their website at


Your point of contact for submitting your selfie to be posted on our website and FB page is:

         Share it using the hashtag #RestoreTheEarthFOMR

         Or, email it to

Need help identifying the litter?

Broken or partial litter items may be a challenge to identify for your data card. But there is help! Check out this picture guide, designed to work with your Litter Data Card!

Litter Identification Guide

​Trash bags

We’ll provide trash bags to the first 30 people who request them, up to two per person. A choice of different sizes of bags will be provided, depending upon your goals and abilities to manage the bags. Pick them up at the Staunton YMCA.


If you want to use your own trash bags, a 13-24 gallon bag is about the right size for collecting. Larger than this, the bag often gets too heavy to drag around with you when full. Better to use multiple smaller bags. Remember to use sturdy bags to avoid spills.


You do help even more by recycling any collected items when possible.



 Litter Data Card

Download and print the Litter Data Card at home or pick one up from the YMCA. Return card to the YMCA. You can drop it off at the front desk, mail it in to Chris, or scan and email it to Chris. Address above.


Make sure to write your name, phone number, and email address on the back of the card before returning to the YMCA. And submit it by the deadline of April 30, 2021.


Grabbers (optional)

Grabbers allow you to pick up items without using your hands directly. They can be helpful in litter collection if you have them.


FOMR has a few sets of grabbers participants can borrow. Pickup and return to the YMCA.                 Please sanitize the grabbers before you return them.

Gloves and Vests (optional)

Work gloves can help protect you from sharp objects. Latex or rubber gloves can keep you cleaner. Gloves are not a mandatory requirement to collect litter but are highly recommended to avoid cuts and contamination. Even when using gloves,  be aware of and avoid dangerous trash like broken glass and rusty metal.


FOMR has a small number of high-visibility vests that can be borrowed.

Hand sanitizer and/or anti-viral wipes.

Wash or sanitize your hands after touching litter, even when using gloves.

Please wipe down equipment you borrow before returning it to the YMCA.


And don’t forget, there is still COVID-19 to deal with!


  1. Wear face masks whenever practical and/or in public areas

  2. Maintain a 6-foot distance from people not in your household

  3. Wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer after handling trash

  4. Wipe grabbers (if used) with sanitizer after use and before returning to the YMCA

  5. Yep, you still have to follow all the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) guidelines