Litterati: How Social Media Helps Remove Plastic Waste

| By Leon Kirschgens & Jacqueline Plaster
Found plastic on the street? Take a photo and share it on Instagram before you throw it away with Litterati. It's a great way to encourage your friends to join in.

The smartphone app Litterati combines two everyday things: social media and plastic waste. In this way, the world could become a little cleaner without any high-tech or regulations.

The story of Litterati begins with a family hike in the Oakland Woods in the United States. Family man Jeff Kirschner is walking with his children in the forest when his daughter finds plastic waste even in the otherwise untouched nature of the Oakland Woods.

"Of course I see plastic waste almost every day," says family father Jeff Kirschner in an interview with TED Talk. "But at that moment, it clicked. My daughter's reaction opened my eyes. I started noticing litter everywhere: on pavements, streets and playgrounds."

So Jeff Kirschner became not only a family man, but the inventor of a now globally successful app that has declared war on plastic waste. The smartphone is supposed to encourage people to collect as much plastic waste as possible in their own environment, share it on social networks - and thus motivate others to do the same.

There are four simple steps we can all take to make a contribution.

  • find a piece of litter
  • take a picture of it on Instagram
  • add the hashtag "#litterati"
  • throw the litter in a bin

By the way, the whole success story and how exactly Litterati works is also perfectly explained in this TED Talk.