Crusade to Clean the World One Piece of Trash at a Time

Jeff Kirschner is an entrepreneur and founder of Litterati, an organization to clean the rid the world of trash one piece at a time. Jeff’s mission and goal is to get everyone involved to clean up trash around the world. How can Jeff, organize such a giant project and get everyone involved? With the help of viral potential and social media Jeff encourages everyone to document the trash they see on the ground and pick it up. Afterwards, the image is posted on Instagram using a hashtag #litterati. 

Litterati’s message to everyone is this; you find a piece of trash lying on the ground, photograph it, post your photo to Instagram, and recycle or throw the trash away. The simple idea uses crowdsourcing to clean up the world of litter lying on the ground.

How did Litterati start? 

The company founder lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, a city that works hard and prides itself on being environmentally and eco-conscious friendly. However, one day Jeff took his two small children on a stroll through Oakland Hills when his daughter noticed a plastic kitty litter tub floating in the water. She commented to her father that the tub didn’t belong there. Jeff was not oblivious about all the trash he sees on the ground each day. But what opened Jeff’s eyes was the comment from his daughter. Afterwards, Jeff started to notice the trash everywhere; at the playgrounds, in the streets, and on the sidewalks.

Jeff understood he could not do this alone and remembered a lesson he had learned at summer camp. The camp directors instructed each child to police the campground and pick up five piece of trash. Jeff decided to use this principle, but on a larger scale. His idea was to leverage technology to help him build a crowd-sourced model to clean the planet.

When Jeff started this project, it was only him walking around town each day picking up 10 pieces of trash and sending his images to Instagram. Soon others started to follow and add their images to Instagram creating the first Digital Landfill. The photo gallery has grown over the past few months and now you can see hundreds of images of coffee cups, plastic bags, and soda cans. Soon Jeff’s small Digital Landfill started to grow and he now has an ever-growing community pitching in to clean the earth of trash.

What is Jeff’s next step in his litter cleanup efforts? 

The photos sent to Instagram have GPS coordinates that allowed Jeff to compile the information of who is picking up trash, where they are picking up the trash, and which neighborhoods continue to have trash thrown on the roads. Soon the trends started to emerge and Jeff realized that he could share this data with decision makers. Jeff is hoping his data will help to better allocate resources to add better placed trash cans or recycling bins to the heavily littered areas. 

Furthermore the Digital Landfill community is starting to tag the trash collected and throw away. Jeff sees big name brands trash on the roads like Marlboro, Coco Cola and Starbucks. The next phase of Jeff’s project will be contacting the company brands that appear mostly on the road. He wants to see if these big brand companies will implement biodegradable cups or start a campaign to offer anyone who picks up trash free products. The Litterati main goal is to redefine the responsibilities of eco-businesses and get everyone involved in cleaning up the earth. 

Everyone needs to join Litterati efforts and clean up the earth. Next time you see trash on the road, take out your smart phone, snap an image, post your image to Instagram, and throw the trash in the can or recycle bin. Every piece of trash you pick up is one less piece of trash lying on the road.


Ann Johnston

About Ann Johnston

Ann enjoys writing, reading, gardening, fishing and the great outdoors. Her job has allowed her to travel and live in different countries. She enjoys studying and learning about different cultures.

Ann Johnston

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