How to stop litter bugs – clean your campus

There a few things that High Point University and Disneyland have in common, but the biggest one is that people love to go there because they are clean.  If you asked Nido Qubein how he made High Point University one of the best schools in the U.S. he would tell you that he started with getting the campus spick and span (spotlessly clean that is).

I visit a lot of school campuses each year (to give safety training and conduct audits) and as soon as I step onto the grounds, I know whether or not the school administration has the right mindset, lacks leadership, or even gives to two gosh-darns to what they are doing.  Trash says a lot about your campus and mindset and the biggest thing it says is “you don’t care” (just like your signage).

Like it or not, clean schools perform better in many ways. The students achieve better grades, go on to become productive members of society and generally have higher levels of satisfaction over the course of their lives.  From a risk management stand point, clean schools perform better (show lower incidents) in worker’s compensation rates, hostile work environment claims, human resource retention (keep more employees), have less property claims and the list goes on.  If there is one saying that sums it up it is “trash begets trash.”

stop litter bugs

It like going to a dirty restaurant with food scraps under the table, you just don’t want to eat there.  The same holds true for a school campus, you just don’t want to learn there.

So how do you stop litter bugs?  Take pride in your school campuses. Make cleanliness a priority. Don’t stand by and let the trash pile up – clean it up.  People are less likely to litter when the area doesn’t have trash there already.  If you are a school administrator, manager or leader then take the first step, set the example and pick up some litter.  Here are some great ways to stop litter bugs:

  • take pride in your appearence
  • elevate your custodial staff – make them special
  • place signs on trash cans stating that 70% of students use this trash can
  • empty the trash cans often
  • give your custodial staff the right tools
  • clean up bubble gum and other trash that has become a permanent fixture
  • start a recycling program
  • educate the students
  • have trash clean up days
  • Paramount USD has special days where all custodians go to one campus and do deep cleaning
  • enforce your litter policy


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