Private event - guidelines

River Cleanup announces guidelines for individuals to conduct solo river cleanups as long as local governing bodies allow for public access to riverbanks or other waterways. A solo cleanup is defined as an individual cleanup by one person, a household unit, or a cleanup with a few friends if the local corona-guidelines allow it.

Organizing a solo cleanup event is voluntary and solely at a participant’s own risk, including risk associated with COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). We therefore also don't allow people to register for another person's event. The 'Private event' option means only the person, or group of people, who organize the event will participate in the cleanup. We don't recommend to organize a River Cleanup with bigger groups as mentioned in paragraph one. Individuals should only participate to the extent that they can comply with applicable federal, state, and local rules and restrictions, and the below required practices including physical distancing.

The following rules must be followed to ensure individuals are equipped to make an educated, safe and mindful decision to conduct a solo cleanup, and always discard of the collected trash and used PPE items (gloves, etc.) in a proper way.

  • What to bring: mask/cloth face covering, gloves, 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, grabbers (if you have them), 2 separate collection receptacles. 
  • Check with your local authority on public land access restrictions. Avoid crowded areas at crowded times.  
  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public.
  • Wear gloves. We cannot stress this safety precaution enough. Wearing gloves discourages you from touching your face or face covering. If using reusable gloves, be sure to properly sanitize between uses.
  • Use grabbers to minimize contact between your gloves and trash items. Sanitize these after use and before transport or storage. 
  • Avoid touching your face or public surfaces during the cleanup.   
  • Remember to use hand sanitizer after the cleanup is over, then wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds as soon as you’re able to do so. 
  • Remember to properly disinfect all reusable equipment before and after the cleanup using an EPA-approved product for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Be responsible! If you are feeling sick or generally unwell, please stay indoors and heal. 

Organizing River Cleanup events under these circumstances is something we have not experienced before, but this shouldn't stop us from fighting for clean rivers! Are rivers need us more than ever. By following the above guidelines you will be able to have a safe cleanup event, with minimal risk to contamination. 

Don't forget to have fun, enjoy nature, and share your cleanup with us via a photo or video. You can send your images to us on social media, or to We would love to have you in our after movie! If you have any questions regarding the information on this page, don't hesitate to reach out.

Stay safe!