People Are Sharing Photos of Themselves Picking Up Trash in a Social Media Trend That’s Gaining Popularity


Social media has inspired quite a view challenges. Some of them are dangerous. Remember the Tide Pod Challenge? Some of them are weird. Why would I want to throw a slice of cheese at my baby?

Now, there’s a new challenge that’s actually something we can get behind. Instead of challenging people to do something crazy, risky or silly, this challenge encourages people to do something beneficial. It’s the #trashtag challenge.

The #trashtag hashtag dates back to 2015 when an outdoor gear company called UCO (Utility, Comfort, and Originality) created a contest called “The Trashtag Project.” Contestants posted photos of themselves picking up litter in order to have a chance to win outdoor gear.

Fast forward to 2019. On March 5th, in a Facebook post, Byron Román wrote, “Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens. 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.” He also included an example, a photo where he is sitting outside in a chair surrounded by litter. That’s the “before” photo. Then, in the “after” photo, he’s standing in the same spot, but instead of litter, there are 9 garbage bags in front of him.

The Facebook post has been shared 315,000 times. This new challenge is exploding. It’s gaining popularity all over the world and on multiple social media platforms. Users are Instagram are sharing #trashtag posts from Nepal and India.

We can’t remember another social media challenge that encouraged such positive behavior. We love seeing all of the posts showing what a big difference it makes to clean up litter.

This challenge proves that “bored teens” and pretty much everyone else is ready for a challenge that’s worth while. Finally, social media is being used for the greater good.

As one Instagram user wrote, “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.”

What do you think of this new #trashtag challenge? Do you hope this starts a new trend of social media challenges that have a positive impact?