This Viral Challenge on Reddit Is All About Cleaning Up Your Neighborhood

published Mar 18, 2019
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(Image credit: Kristi Blokhin)

Although we all can relate to feeling surrounded by metaphorical garbage, lots of people spend time in public areas that are unreasonably littered with real trash, too. This was the case for me in my former Brooklyn neighborhood. The litter on one particular block that passed over a bridge was so awful that I actually started picking it up myself once in a while. (Because I can apparently rage clean as long as it’s not in my own home.)

Back then, there was no trending hashtag I could lean on to show people what I was doing and hopefully inspire them to clean up our world just for the sake of it. That’s changed though, and now there is a recently buzzing #trashtag – a hashtag people are using to show the world the garbage in their communities. Not only does it bring awareness to just how seriously bad litter is in certain neighborhoods, but it also comes with an implicit challenge: show us the before, clean it up, and then show us the after. The idea is to motivate others around the globe to make our planet just a tiny bit less disgusting.

It all seems to be working out pretty well. A thread on Reddit, which is where this purportedly began, is flush with motivating before and after photos. Trails in forests, pathways along beaches, wide open waterways, urban streets, and plenty in between are all being cleaned up en masse now thanks to this hashtag prompt. Check out this #trashtag video for some examples of what’s happening.

Here’s a before and after from Portland, Oregon where some neighborhoods are truly overcome with garbage:

Look at the before/after of this water in Baltimore:

This couple filled five trash bags from one beach cleanup in Florida:

A participant from Nepal sent in his before/after and it’s jaw-dropping:

One person posted a photo of a small bit of land, saying they’d picked up 383 cigarette butts from that little section alone. Gross!

If you’d like to get involved, it’s as simple as it sounds. Grab some gloves and bags and pick up the litter you see. Take a photo of the area before you start cleaning up and then take a photo when you’re done (photos that include the trash bags seem to be especially popular). Then take to the Internet to inspire others, using #trashtag with your post.

In a world where so many viral hashtags are for pointless or even negative reasons, we’re excited to see one that does this much objective good.