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The Clean Games: how to solve global environmental problems while playing?

November 12, 2018 / Volunteering

Garbage collection is a sport, too! Don’t you believe? So you haven't played the Clean Games yet.

The Clean Games is a team quest aimed at collecting and sorting garbage. The goal is to score as many points as possible. Participants are divided into teams, get acquainted and fervently start cleaning the territory.

“The idea is to turn garbage into money. For each bag of garbage, the players receive points which can be changed to sponsors’ prizes” © Dmitry Ioffe, the founder and the mind behind the Games.

Besides, more points are given for separately collected garbage. The points can be collected in several ways: the separate collection of garbage (mixed bag - 5 points, plastic - 7 points, glass - 9 points), check-ins of cleaned spots (picture + geolocation), the collection of hazardous materials, bonus tasks, puzzles, and artifacts. That’s how environmental education emerge while the participants play.


Every team faces a challenge: to allocate roles, develop a game strategy. Gear - such as a spade, a handcart or a rake -  can be purchased for points. Who will spend points for the future, and who will save them?


During just one game, 100-200 people collect 2-6 tons of garbage, half of which is recyclables.

The organizers went further and developed a mobile application for more excitement, which provides real-time statistics, and each team can see their results.

Everybody wins from the Clean Games: the city residents get a cleaned area and a picnic, the participants receive souvenirs for everyone and prizes for the winners. People of all ages take part in team competitions: schoolchildren, students, adults. Activists, volunteers and all who love the competition and their city!

We try to “pack” a game in an original way - there were Wild West Games and Superheros Games” - says Dmitry Ioffe.


I came, I cleaned, I conquered!

In 2014-2018:

384 Games

30451 participant

170 cities

612.5 tons of garbage cleaned

The Clean Games are walking the country. Anyone can contact the official website of the Games ( and arrange competitions in their hometown. A methodology, an emblem, and support are provided at all stages of the event.

The Clean Games is a special project for me, which opened up great opportunities and allowed me to finally find myself by the age of 30. The topic of the environment has always been interesting to me, but I did not come across the necessary format for participating in this topic. Therefore, I worked in the field that I studied at the university and thought that I was fine. Then 2 years ago I saw the Chi and it all started. First I organized one game, then the second ... then I participated in an educational forum, school events. The culmination today is the Orlyonok (Eaglet), where we, together with the children, began to work out the Chi school league. The project drags you in and allows to develop, due to the fact that there are a lot of people interested in this format of environmental education. They have energy, inspiration, and vision.”

(с) Marina Ivleva, a coordinator from Volgograd

An important rule of the Clean Games is no politics, only good deeds.

The organizers negotiate with the administration about the Games, garbage collection and attracting sponsors. There are also regular sponsors: the World movement “Let’s do it!”, the Russian movement “Garbage.No.More”, the Resource Conservation Center, Running City orienteering quests, the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Lenta chain of supermarkets.


“In the Clean Games, I like the scale and constant growth of activity, there is room to grow while doing good and useful things. In 2017, I organized the first game, and in 2018  - already 7 games in various natural territories of Perm. It helps me to get to know my hometown, its beautiful corners, to get acquainted with active locals and to enlist their support.

I hope to reach a new level next year, to create a sports league in the Perm region, because everything leads to this!
And when the garbage is over, we will speed up the improvement of urban natural territories — we will make birdhouses, benches, paths.”

(с) Andrey Kvitkin, a coordinator from Perm

In 2018, the first Clean-Up Cup ( was held as part of the World Clean-Up Day (by “Let’s do it!”). According to the methodology of the Clean Games, in one day, residents of 56 cities of Russia managed to collect 98 tons of garbage (56% of which was recycled).

The methodology of the Clean Games is also of interest internationally.

The Games were held once in Ukraine, Nigeria, Vietnam, India. In the future, we plan permanent cooperation with Japan (Russian-Japanese Clean Games have already been held in Moscow) and Colombia.

“I found out about the Clean Games project in the news on the website “Let's do it! World”. There, I read all the necessary information. The organizers sent me the documents for the Clean Games. I am grateful to the team of Dmitry Ioffe for their help and support.

All players were students of our school. In my area, cleaning is not something popular, and some people do not even think about it at all. I was very worried about everything that was happening, but I did it because I really wanted to enlighten the young people, to make something outstanding for them, something out of the ordinary. And during the Clean Games, the players really managed to surprise us. They were so energized and so glad that they joined the project! I felt happy.”

(с)Dam Hai Li, a coordinator from Hanoi.


Author: Владимир Беляев

Edited by: Ксения Гущина 

Translated by: Olga Gachkova

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