261 Clean Up Sites registered

About us

Mission and Vision


"To inspire and work with communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment."

Who We Are

In 1989 an 'average Australian bloke' had a simple idea to make a difference in his own backyard - Sydney Harbour. This simple idea has now become the nation's largest community-based environmental event, Clean Up Australia Day.

As an avid sailor, Ian had always dreamt of sailing around the world. In 1987 his dream came true when he competed in the BOC Challenge Solo Round-the-World Yacht Race. As he sailed through the oceans of the world in his yacht 'Spirit of Sydney' he was shocked and disgusted by the pollution and rubbish that he continually encountered in areas such as the Sargasso Sea in the Caribbean.

Once back in Sydney Ian organised a community event with the support of a committee of friends, including Clean Up co-founder Kim McKay AO - Clean Up Sydney Harbour. Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989 received an enormous public response, with more than 40,000 Sydneysiders donating their time and energy to clean up the harbour.

The next year Clean Up Australia Day was born. Ian and his committee believed that if a capital city could be mobilised into action, then so could the whole nation. Almost 300,000 volunteers turned out on the first Clean Up Australia Day in 1990 and that involvement has steadily increased ever since.

In the past 20 years, Australians have devoted more than 24 million hours towards the environment through Clean Up Australia Day and collected over 200,000 tonnes of rubbish.

The next step for Ian and Kim was to take the concept of Clean Up Australia Day to the rest of the world. After gaining the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Clean Up the World was launched in 1993. In its inaugural year, Clean Up the World involved approximately 30 million people in 80 countries.

The appeal of Clean Up the World (an estimated 40 million people from 130 countries annually take part) has demonstrated that this simple Australian idea has universal appeal and the health of the environment is of concern to people and communities worldwide.

Clean Up the World demonstrates that people across the planet are willing to do something themselves to help protect and care for their environment.

Since then Clean Up Australia has evolved into an organisation that works with the community, government and business to provide practical solutions to help us all live more sustainably every day of the year.

Click here for more information on who we are.

What Else We Do

Clean Up Mobile Phones

The rapid growth and redundancy of mobile phones represents a major challenge to human health and the environment. You may not know or even think about it, but your mobile contains poisonous substances which if disposed of incorrectly, can decompose and seep into the soil and groundwater; affecting the food chain. Moreover, these chemicals can also cause you personal harm!

Clean Up Australia has teamed up with Aussie Recycling Program (ARP) to provide an easy way to recycle your old mobile phones.  Simply register on our website and return your phone through Clean Up Australia's specially designed pre-paid envelope.  Place your mobile, battery and charger in the satchel and it will be returned via Australia Post (FREE OF CHARGE).

Cash for Containers

We need containers, our environment doesn't. A Container Refund Scheme is the solution to keep containers out of the environment and give a real benefit to the community. A cash reward for doing the right thing - returning your container.

Click here to find out more.

Clean Up The World

Clean Up the World is a community based environmental program that inspires and empowers individuals and communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment.

While participants are encouraged to hold environmental events on or around CUW Weekend (always the 3rd weekend in September), Clean Up the World is also designed to provide support to groups undertaking activities throughout the year.

Click here to find out more.

Say NO to Plastic Bags

By following a few simple steps we can stop plastic bags from blocking our drains and creeks, injuring our precious marine life and harming our wildlife.

The focus of the Say NO to Plastic Bags Campaign is to enable shoppers and retailers to reduce the number of plastic bags handed out at checkouts.

Click here to find out more.