Keep Up the Clean Up with McDonald’s: Inspiring anti-litter stories #ad

litter pickers propped against a rock

About to set off for a day of defeating litter. Picture: The Mini Mes and Me

‘When it comes to littering, there’s just no excuse.’ That was the reaction of one of BritMums bloggers when it came to the issue of litter and a great paid campaign we took part in with McDonald’s.

Like Talya of Motherhood The Real Deal we too are exasperated at ‘the hand that comes out of the car window and just drops their lunch wrapper like it’s of no consequence whatsoever, the  person that couldn’t wait another few steps to find a bin. One thing’s for sure – the only cure for litter is us.’

That’s an attitude that McDonald’s takes seriously with its Keep Up the Clean Up initiative. This June McDonald’s restaurants up and down the country came together to litter pick in local areas. More than 400 litter picks have taken place so far this year as part of the wider anti-litter Keep Up The Clean Up campaign. Best of all, the areas were chosen by locals, who are passionate about keeping their green spaces and city centres clean. Customers nominated and voted on areas that needed clearing up. Then McDonald’s organised volunteers from its staff to sweep through the areas, picking up as much litter as humanly possible. 

Mcdonalds group after picking up litter

One of the groups after tidying up Bristol Road in Gloucester. Picture: Mama Bear of One

McDonald’s has been cleaning up litter dropped in its local communities for over 35 years. This Keep Up The Clean Up anti-litter campaign is part of McDonald’s UK’s commitment to keeping the UK tidy. 

It’s all part of the company’s wider commitment to greener practices. It is close to sending 0% of waste to landfill, is moving towards 100% recyclable packaging and for the past 12 years has been working with environment charities on bigger clean-up events across the UK.

BritMums bloggers joined the fight

Five BritMums bloggers worked with McDonald’s on Keep Up the Clean Up events, polling their local followers about possible sites then coming along to the local events with their children, donning tabards and picking up long-handled litter-grabbers to pitch in. Emma of Emma Plus Three went litter-picking at Hillsborough Park in Sheffield. An incredible 44 people turned up to help! Everyone was issued with bags, gloves and grabbers. Like most of our bloggers, Emma was stunned by what the group uncovered at their local park, which looked relatively tidy upon arrival. ‘I was amazed at the amount of rubbish we managed to collect,’ she says. She was especially surprised at the volume of plastic: ‘It was really quite shocking and a lot of it looked like it had been there for years.

picking up plastic bottle with grabber

Emma unearths a vintage plastic bottle. Picture: Emma Plus Three

Creating clean spaces and good vibes

Another Emma, from The Mini Mes and Me, went along with 20 volunteers and collected 31 sacks of rubbish at a nature reserve in Northampton. Even more plentiful were the good vibes and community spirit on display. ‘It’s nice way to bring people together to do something positive for the area we live in.’ When people were passing the group that Jamie from Mama Bear of One was with in Bristol, they offered encouraging words of ‘well done’ or honked their horn. ‘As a member of the community it was so incredible to have so many people come together in their own time to clean up the area,’ Jamie says.

McDonald's team picking up litter

The group hunting their prey. Picture: The Mini Mes and Me

The strangest litter people toss

It wasn’t just the amount of rubbish that was an eye-opener. It was also the actual type of litter that surprised our bloggers.

There was a tyre (!) and a swing among the bushes on Emma from The Mini Mes and Me’s outing but the prize for strangest find must go to Talya from Motherhood the Real Deal, who working in Sidcup, Kent, found among ‘the endless amounts of plastic everywhere, cans, containers, cigarette butts, drink cartons, takeaway boxes, bottles, clothes and shoes … another litter picker!’ How meta. 

The importance of bringing up ‘green’ children

‘Ever since the Mini Mes were tiny toddlers I would teach them about the importance of caring for the environment,’ says Emma of The Mini Mes and Me. She lets them help with the recycling and reminds them to always properly throw away their rubbish, whether at home or when they are out.

The Keep Up The Clean Up events proved a great way to educate kids about anti-litter practices and be visible with good practices. Laura of The Breastest News was at the beach at Leven in Fife for her local KUTCU and passers-by thanked the group for their efforts. ‘One little boy watched as an umbrella was pulled from the water and declared “They’re saving the turtles!”’ 

Women picking up umbrella from stream

One of the more unusual pieces of litter the group found in Fife. Picture: The Breastest News

Speaking of turtles – check out the junk turtle that Jamie of mamabearofone made to publicise the event. One of Jamie’s followers, Victoria, came along with her two children. Victoria said, ‘”I’ve come along today because I think it is good that everybody gets involved and makes the environment better, and it makes the kids get outside as well so win-win!”’ Together with the group, they helped collect 25 bags of rubbish! 

This project continues McDonald’s’ legacy of tackling rubbish in its communities, regardless of its origin which dates back to 1982 when the restaurant chain first started cleaning up the streets. McDonald’s litter patrols and clean-up events see staff and volunteers walk around 150,000 miles a year as they set about keeping the UK tidy.

Each McDonald’s restaurant carries out at least three litter patrols per day in their local community, with employees covering a total of 3,000 miles every week – the distance of five marathons a year per restaurant!

‘I really hope this campaign shows just how important it is that we look after our local environment,’ says Talya, ‘and inspires both individuals and companies to be the change they want to see when it comes to keeping our local areas litter free and enjoyable.’

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!


This post is part of a paid project with McDonald’s UK, promoting McDonald’s Keep Up the Clean Up campaign encouraging local communities to take action and work together to tackle litter in their area.


Read all the bloggers’ KUTCU posts here:

Emma Plus Three: Keeping Our Community Tidy with McDonald’s

The Mini Mes and Me: Keeping the Community Clean with McDonald’s 

Mama Bear of One: Keep Up the Clean Up with McDonald’s

Motherhood the Read Deal: The only cure for litter is us: Keep Up the Clean Up with McDonald’s 

The Breastest News: KUTCU Campaign with McDonald’s Leven in Fife


Here’s what the #KUTCU campaign looked like last year. 


You can follow the KUTCU conversation on social media with the #KUTCU tag.

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