Every April, I am so excited to see the thousands of people who care about their communities enough to get out and help pick up the litter thrown all around it. But Earth Day ends, the bags of trash get counted and most often, people aren’t out cleaning up litter until the next year.
Meanwhile, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m looking around all year noticing the trash that’s not where it’s supposed to be. A couple weeks ago, I actually even witnessed a guy toss a Pepsi can out his car window as he slowly drove across a city street. I was just stunned because when I see litter, I’m always wondering who these people are who are so lazy that they just throw trash on the side of the road or in a park or a lake.
I’ve said before how picking up litter is one little Earth-saving thing I love to do because I can physically see the results of it. So I’m super excited that there’s a bit of a movement underway about raising awareness of litter and putting trash where it belongs, thanks to Jeff Kirschner.
His idea was to make cleaning up litter fun and interesting using technology, especially Instagram. The goal of his organization, Litterati, is a litter-free world.
People just take a photo of litter they find, take a picture and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #Litterati, then throw away or recycle the trash.
I just love it. It’s so simple, yet is already seemingly having an impact as more than 12,000 photos of trash have been tagged by Instagram users.
And as the movement has grown, it’s allowed Litterati to collect data about what the most common brands or types of types of trash are that are found and where. (Can you guess what’s been found the most, based on what people are tagging along with #Litterati? Find out if you’re right.) That’s led to this fascinating global map that uses GPS to show where people are finding litter and what is there.
Kirschner hopes this information can be useful in making decisions on where to place trash cans and recycling bins as well as working with companies that make the items most commonly becoming litter to use more environmentally conscious packaging. Litterati is also starting to see involvement from schools, environmental groups and even Whole Foods.
Awareness of litter and this movement are growing and I am doing my part by being part of the movement and spreading the word to you. Please join me.
For more about the Litterati movement in Kirschner’s own words, check out his post at Good.is.