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.
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!