Skip to main content
Help support Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s mission to protect and restore our water by participating in a Solo Sweep – anywhere, anytime that works for you! Pick up litter, record the data, and join us in advocating for clean water here in Western New York and throughout the Great Lakes region.
Pledging helps us keep you informed on the results, connect you with potential rewards for your work, and notify you of places in need!

What is a Solo Sweep?

A solo sweep is a cleanup effort by an individual (or small group) that is completed on your own without the coordination of BNW. You can clean up anywhere, anytime, and track the litter you find using the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app. Remember to use BNW in your group name so we can easily track your efforts!

Why is it important to track litter you find?

Data is power! We know litter pollution threatens our drinking water, wildlife, the health of our ecosystems, and our economy – which is why we dedicate our time to remove it – but we can never solve the issue without data.

Thanks to the litter data collected by cleanup volunteers like yourself, we can track the types, location, and quantity of trash being found throughout our watershed. We can use this data to support, fund, and empower community driven solutions that address local issues, while connecting us to leaders around the world dedicated to eliminating litter pollution. Litter data can also strengthen policy initiatives focused on holding producers accountable and banning specific types of waste like the recently passed polystyrene foam ban and the plastic bag ban in New York State. It also was instrumental for the New York Attorney General in bringing a case against PepsiCo. for litter found throughout the Buffalo River.

What is the best way to organize a Solo Sweep? 

The first step is to determine a location for your cleanup by visiting some of the areas around where you work, live, and play to see where there is a need for a litter pick up. We suggest visiting your site ahead of time to identify where the trash is and where the bins are located, especially if you are leading other volunteers. Check out the DIY video below for details on what supplies to bring and other safety measures to follow. Make sure you (and your group) increase your impact by collecting data! Download the Clean Swell App beforehand or you can print out the data cards below.

Where can I download the Clean Swell App?

 You can download the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app by clicking here. Once you have the app on your phone, create your account and check out the user-friendly steps to record the types of litter you find.

IMPORTANT: In the “Group Name” line, please type “BNW” & your location to help us easily track your hard work! All the information you collect is stored on the largest litter collection database in the world – TIDES (Trash Information and Data for Education and Solutions). You can also collect data on a paperData Card(see below) and enter the information after your cleanup right onto the TIDES database.

Check out the cleanup resources below and email Brittni Anderson at  if you have further questions!

Learn how to use the Clean Swell app and happy Sweeping!