Sick of hearing about dangerous and silly viral trends like the Tide Pod challenge, Momo challenge, and Birdbox challenge? Finally, there’s a viral challenge going around that’s good for everybody involved!
While teenagers are often labeled as entitled, spoiled, or lazy, the #TrashTag challenge is proving these stereotypes wrong, while helping clean up the planet.
Plus, it’s not just teens taking part in the trash collecting fun, people of all ages are jumping in to do their part.
Back in 2015, The TrashTag Project was originally uploaded to the web by an outdoor company called UCO (Utility, Comfort, and Originality). The idea was for people to post photos of themselves cleaning up trash in exchange for a chance to win free outdoor gear.
“Help us all […] by joining the #trashtag project and posting pics of your own clean up efforts on Instagram. We aim to make a tangible impact on the environment through the galvanizing forces of social media,” they wrote.
People participated in the challenge, but it didn’t gain mass traction until four years later. It took some time but it was worth the wait!
The photo below, which can be traced back to a Facebook post by Byron Román, reignited what UCO started a few years back.
“Here is a new challenge for all you bored teens,” the post reads. “Take a photo of an area that needs some cleaning or maintenance, then take a photo after you have done something about it, and post it.”
Not only did he remove all of the trash in the original photo, but he also cut back the dead brush to make room for more living greenery.
One person commented that the two pictures did not look they were taken in the same place.
“It is the same area,” Byron responded. “The second photo was taken a little farther back. Notice the tree stump and the large branch below it. You can actually see more green after the dead brush was removed.”
While the trend was originally targeted at ‘bored teens,’ people far older than 17 have joined in the challenge.
The challenge has inspired people from all over the world, in many different countries, to turn their boredom into productivity by picking up trash and then posting before and after photos online.
A participant in the challenge named Cody Hanson said:
“It’s the only outdoors we have. We all use it for many different things but it is the only one we have. So let’s all do our part and treat it with respect. Let’s pick up after ourselves and then pick up extra. It only takes a few minutes of your time to pick up something that’ll far outlast us humans if left alone. We’re the ones who get can pass it along to those who will come after us in better shape than we found it.”
A sub-reddit r/trees shows a similar effort only on a smaller scale. It involves cannabis enthusiasts working to banish pothead stereotypes by getting out and cleaning up their favorite smoking spots, while enjoying a blunt.
Similarly to teens, and stoners, social media often gets a bad reputation. This viral challenge proves that social media can be used to do so much good when properly put to use.
Need more reason to take part in the #trashtag movement?
- Each year, the United States alone produces over 250 million tons of garbage.
- The average person produces just under 5 pounds of trash per day. (We challenge you to uncover how much trash your household produces each day. Warning: the results may scare you.)
- While the US produces the most garbage, Russia isn’t far behind, producing more than 200 million tons of trash each year.
- China produces more trash each year. According to estimates, they will produce around 530 million tons of waste in a single year by 2030.
- Much of the trash that isn’t properly disposed of ends up in our oceans – where the amount of trash is expected to outnumber fish in the coming years.
- According to The Atlantic, it is estimated that the world collectively produces over 2.6 trillion pounds of trash each year – that’s the weight of 7,000 Empire State Buildings.
Reducing consumption is obviously the number one way to help fight our trash problem. Yet, on top of that, we also need to address the existing and overwhelming issue of too much trash. #trashtag is a great way to do that, while getting some likes along the way!