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Litterati: Fighting Litter with…Instagram?

Does coming across cigarette butts and discarded food packaging on the ground make you batty? Litterati – a new movement on Instagram – aims to highlight litter and clean up the planet, one errant piece of trash at a time. Check out the video above about how #litterati got its start, and read on for more about this Instagram project aimed at fighting litter.

The site collects Instagram photos with the hashtag #litterati, and archives them in a “digital landfill,” where you can peruse all of the litter that users have submitted. If you already have an Instagram account, there’s nothing to sign up for: just snap a photo of the next piece of litter you find, and post it with the hashtag.


My first #litterati post to Instagram.

The man behind #litterati is Jeff Kirschner, and he’s not just sharing photos of litter. He’s also collecting data to help us understand the patterns behind littering. If you know where litter is the biggest problem, then you can better target anti-litter programs with simple solutions. What if the areas where he’s seeing the most soda cans had recycling bins just for cans? Or a city government could put more ashtrays in areas with cigarette butt problems.

Gathering data can be dry, and getting people to participate can be tough. What makes #litterati special is that it makes collecting data fun through the power of crowdsourcing.

Of course, just leaving that candy bar wrapper on the ground after taking the time to photograph it is crazy, and #litterati encourages cleanup as part of this whole project. Here’s their mission in four steps:

1. Find a piece of litter.

2. Photograph it with Instagram.

3. Tag it with the hashtag “litterati.”

4. Throw away, recycle, or compost the litter.

I especially love that composting is one of the options that he brings up. How cool could it be if cities that have them could expand their municipal composting programs to include public composting bins where they’re needed most?

Do you use Instagram? Have you posted to #litterati? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this project in the comments!

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
1:42AM PST on Dec 30, 2014

Wonderful blog! I never ever read such kind of information that imparted me great knowledge.

7:44AM PDT on Sep 8, 2013

Save the earth! It's the only planet that has chocolate!!!

3:30PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

thanks, but I don't know much about Instagram

8:54AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013


4:30AM PDT on Jun 30, 2013

I'm not a user of instagram and not entirely convinced it will help - but can't hurt to try! I can't abide people dropping litter - or leaving their rubbish on tables when there is a bin nearby. I taught my children to clean up behind them and they continue this practice as adults and I hope they'll eventually be the same with their children when they have them.

7:33AM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

whatever it takes....................I normally say"excuse me, did you know you dropped something?"

4:45PM PDT on Jun 26, 2013

I have not used instagram. I do GO NUTS! About people littering! It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. It is So MINDLESS! People are so unconscious & disrespectful of the earth, & their communities. Some of the worst areas I see, are on the service roads of expressways! It seems like slowing down to come to a light is a reason to dump their trash! It is SO BAD here on Long Island, NY, that I am embarressed when someone from a "cleaner" state comes here to visit! To live a life where you don't care about ANYTHING unless it has
to do w/ serving your own narrcisstic needs, is just so off-putting to me! Wouldn't it be nice if we ship all these losers who hurt the earth, water, enviornment, animals, kids, off to some place to all selfdistruct! Leaving only
the decent ones left! Than maybe this world would hve a fighting chance!!! Still! The A-***** would find a way to screw us up! I am sure!

9:16PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Good idea as far as it goes. Will this stop litterers? No. Will having more trash cans out and visible help? With some.

There will always be those slobs who decide it's their right to throw their trash any where they choose - even in front of, not in, a trash can. Some will justify it by saying their taxes pay to clean the sidewalks and streets.

You will not change their minds...On second thought, it seems someone here made a comment about fining $50 per butt, or per piece of litter? Hmmmm.

3:43AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Thank you.

11:53PM PDT on Jun 24, 2013


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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