#Trashtag: Viral litter clean-up challenge inspires Internet users to ‘make the world a better place’

'Whoever came up with #trashtag is an absolute genius'

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 13 March 2019 12:18 GMT

Recent Internet challenges have seen social media users share photos of themselves from 10 years ago, ​pour buckets of ice over their heads to raise awareness of motor neurone disease and risk their wellbeing by attempting to eat Tide laundry detergent pods.

The latest craze to sweep the World Wide Web demonstrates the commitment many feel towards protecting the environment, by encouraging people to take photos of public areas before and after they've removed any litter that was there.

Titled the #trashtag challenge, the initiative started to gain traction following a recent post on social media site Reddit.

After sharing a photo of a man sitting in an area full of litter, and then another photo of the man standing in the same area having put all the litter in several bin bags, a Reddit user wrote: "This should be a new challenge to make the world a better place!"

These words have since sparked a social media movement, with thousands of people taking it upon themselves to clear up rubbish from public places and then share their exploits online.

On Instagram, more than 27,000 posts have been uploaded using the hashtag #trashtag, while almost 700 posts have been captioned using the hashtag #trashtagchallenge.

Several people have been expressing their admiration over the movement, which has rapidly risen in popularity over the past few days.

"Usually I'm against doing good deeds just to post it online but in the case of #trashtag I am 100 per cent for it, if that's what it takes. Good people are good," one person tweeted.

"Whoever came up with #trashtag is an absolute genius. None of these dumb Internet trends, let's clean the planet!" someone else wrote.

Another person tweeted that they never thought they'd support a social media trend in a "non-sarcastic fashion". "I sure hope this challenge sticks around," they added.

In 2015, outdoor retailer UCO launched an environmental campaign using the hashtag #trashtag.

As part of the campaign, the retailer pledged to pick up at least 10,000 pieces of litter by October 2016.

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Earlier this month, it was reported that microplastics are the most common form of waste found along the Mediterranean coast.

According to a study by the Research Group on Marine Geosciences at the University of Barcelona, more than 60 per cent of the waste that can be found in the Mediterranean coastal waters is plastic.

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