visual litter

Visual Litter Survey Curriculum: Overview

The NJ Jersey Clean Communities Council, in conjunction with the Rutgers/NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE) and Environmental Resources LLC (ERP), has developed a Visual Litter Survey (VLS) curriculum to train Clean Communities Coordinators to conduct litter surveys in their towns and/or counties. The results of the surveys can be utilized to develop programs or projects that will reduce litter. In order to participate in the VLS Curriculum, coordinators must agree to adhere to the following requirements:

  • Review the 2017-18 Litter Survey posted at and be prepared to discuss the survey.
  • Attend the VLS Launch Seminar (5 credit hours). The seminar will include course overview, methodology, case studies, and panel discussions aimed at educating coordinators about the project. Coordinators will have the opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to participate in the project at that time.
  • Attend one regional training workshop (five credit hours). This workshop will provide the information coordinators will need to conduct litter surveys. Field work will be included in the agenda for the workshop.
  • Organize at least one VLS/Cleanup. Coordinators must solicit the participation of at least one community group in the survey. Coordinators must serve as team captains for the survey/cleanups.
  • Coordinators may organize more than one cleanup. A coordinator will earn three (3) credit hours for each cleanup involving one community group, and an additional two (2) credit hours for each additional participating group.
  • Cleanup requirements are as follows:
    o Solicit volunteers from at least one community group, such as a school, community organization or business, to participate in the cleanup and conduct the survey.
    o Register the cleanup online at
    o Follow procedures outlined at to ensure that volunteers follow safety guidelines, and sign waiver forms and attendance sheets.
    o Submit data forms online at Supplies for each cleanup will be provided and will include trash and recycling bags, gloves, safety vests and safety kits. Supplies will be mailed to coordinators prior to the date of the scheduled cleanup. Coordinators are encouraged to use supplies, which can be charged against a Clean Communities grant.
    o Submit a final assignment of a three to four-page paper outlining how the data collected will be used to develop a project or program that will reduce litter and expand the scope of the existing Clean Communities program.

  • To complete the VLS Curriculum, coordinators must demonstrate that they have implemented programs or projects based on litter survey results. Coordinators may earn additional credit hours for the implementation of these programs or projects.

Please Note: The Visual Litter Survey project is a statewide effort. Municipalities, counties, community organizations, businesses, schools and individuals are encouraged to participate. Participants must follow the guidelines established for the project. To participate coordinators must be Certified Clean Communities Coordinators (CCCC) in good standing.