RhineCleanUp 2021: Saturday 11th September

from the source to the sea

What we do

Every year vast amounts of trash reach the oceans. Million tons of plastic pollute our nature. Most of it reaches the oceans via the rivers, particularly in Asia, but also in Europe. We have to prevent this from happening!

We clean the Rhine from the source to the sea. 

Together with our partners we want to free the riverside of the Rhine from trash. We aim to build and raise awareness among people not to throw trash away without thinking of the consequences for our rivers, oceans and our nature at large.

RCU is getting international

Welcome to the club! At RhineCleanup 2021 we will have participants in six European countries - Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France, Germany and the Netherlands. New is a group in Liechtenstein that has registered with us. Luxembourg will be added to the MoselCleanup. That makes a total of seven countries. This year there was also an increase in the number of German states - after North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria was also on board for the first time in September. And there were five of them. In Lindau on the Bavarian shore of Lake Constance, the Bund Naturschutz took part - right from the start with a strong group of over 200 participants.

Our butt campaign shows impact

Congratulations to Mainz! Our butt campaign in Mainz is having an effect. On 250 already existing trash cans, the city is additionally attaching butt ashtrays - a colored sticker points out: "Butts belong in here!" In August, the RCU group Mainz, organized by environmental activist Anne Steege, had collected over 150,000 cigarette butts in one week. The result was spectacularly presented in the Mainz city center in a huge transparent butt column. The action, during which many information flyers were also distributed, attracted a lot of attention, as most people did not know how toxic the butts are. One butt is enough to contaminate around 40 liters of water.

"Gewässerretter" Award for the RCU Neuss

Joachim Sinzig, RhineCleanUp organizer in Neuss, together with 130 members of the Neuss Rowing Club, the Neuss Marine Club and employees of Sparkasse Neuss, was honored with prize money of 333 euros for the commitment on September 12. The award is presented by the "Gewässerrettern", an association of NABU, canoe, rowing, sailing and diving clubs. Between the Fleher and the Kardinal Frings Bridge, Joachim Sinzig and his fellow campaigners had collected a total of over a ton of garbage - including car tires, barbecue parts and shopping carts. NABU particularly praised RhineCleanUp for organizing the action in compliance with all Corona requirements.

In 2018 our goal was to activate 10 cities in 3 countries to join the very first edition of the RhineCleanUp.

In reality we had 10.000 people joining in 59 cities!

In 2019 we had even more impact with 208 teams in 100 cities!

This year 2 tributaries joined the RhineCleanUp (Moselle und Ruhr) activating in total 35.000 volunteers and collecting 320 tons of waste.

How can YOU join the action?

Join a cleanup

You can either join an existing cleanup, organised by somebody else. The organiser arranges gloves, garbage bags and gives a short briefing about the route to take. Search a cleanup below and become part of RhineCleanUp.

Organize a cleanup

You can also organize a cleanup by yourself. This means you will select a starting location and route, reach out to your municipality to pick up the collected garbage afterwards, and make sure everybody has gloves and bags.

Make your choice

Join a cleanup

You want to join an existing cleanup close to your home? Select a location and let us know how many of you will be there.

Organize a cleanup

You want to organise your own cleanup? Define a route, reach out to your community green office to get material and assistance.

Our approach


In 2018 RhineCleanUp had the ambition to involve 9 cities in 3 countries. In reality over 10.000 people joined hands and cleaned the river banks of the Rhine in 60 cities from source to ending. In 2019 108 cities joined and 20.000 people worked together to create awareness and take action. Discover how you can make a difference.


in 2020 we extend our actions to Rhine and its tributaries: Ruhr and Wiesel. Objective is to involve more people and have more impact. 

Discover how to be part of it...

Cigarette action

1 cigarette butt contaminates 40 liters of water. Every year over 4,5 billion butts end up in nature. Last year we collected 150.000 cigarette butts in Düsseldorf. This year we aim to do more in 10 cities along the Rhine. 

Let us know if you want to help out...

Join us on September 11th 2021