volunteers picking up trash by the ocean

Whether it’s a candy wrapper in the street or an abandoned plastic bottle at the beach, we’ve all seen trash in places it shouldn’t be. Littering is a common issue in communities all across the globe and it affects our ecosystems and wildlife. Each of us is responsible for doing our part to create a cleaner world.

This weekend, be part of the change by celebrating World Cleanup Day on September 19

How to get involved:

This year, Ted-ED and the Alliance To End Plastic Waste teamed up with Litterati to create the All_Together Global Cleanup challenge. 

Download the Litterati app to you join 150,000 people in 117 countries in a global cleanup. All you have to do is take a photo of the litter you pick up, and the app will tag the location and type of litter. Not only can you track your personal impact, but you’ll be able to see litter others pick up in your local area. Make a difference and get inspired by your community!

Also, to add an educational component to this campaign, TED-Ed created 11 online lessons that you can explore. These resources help you understand how plastic waste affects the planet and how you can take action.

Finally, share your impact on social media using the hashtag #AllTogetherCleanup on Instagram, YouTube or Twitter. Your post could be featured on the community wall of the TED-Ed website.

The app that makes it fun to pick up litter:

Years ago, Jeff Kirshner started taking Instagram photos of the litter he picked up. At first, it was just an interesting way to capture trash through an artistic lens. Photos have the ability to tell a story about our waste problem, bringing an issue that is too often “out of sight, out of mind” to the forefront.

But, it wasn’t long before Kirshner realized the true potential of his photo project. He realized that the timestamps and geo-tagging of photos create a valuable dataset. By documenting cleanup efforts through photos, we could gather valuable data including time, date, location and type of litter. We could then use this data to better understand the specific details of their waste problem, allowing us to create customized solutions and track our progress.

“I started to think, how do you empower people to be part of the solution?” he said, “And how do we collect data that drives those changes?”

So, the idea for the Litterati app was born. Kirshner and his team set out to create a tool that would allow us to build a public database that would provide valuable insights to governments, organizations, and corporations. Also, they sought to create a platform that builds community by helping individuals feel connected to a collective cause driven by like-minded others.

Kirshner describes Litterati’s areas of impact in three P’s: policy, packaging, and personal impact.


The data collected by the app can help policymakers in cities across the globe accurately understand the factors contributing to their waste problem, so that regulations could be adjusted to create an effective solution. For example, in San Francisco, Litterati’s data was used in court as evidence of the amount of litter created by cigarettes. This then led to the city doubling of the tax on cigarettes and thus increasing San Francisco’s budget for cleanup efforts.


Litterati also hopes that it can help businesses make better, more sustainable decisions about their packaging. If brands could be made aware of how their products are affecting the environment and to what scale, they could identify the ecological, ethical, and economic incentives for improving their packaging.

Personal Impact

Last but not least, Litterati helps its community members track, share, and celebrate their personal impact. We don’t always realize how our everyday actions can make a difference, but it helps to have a place to track your actions and see how they build up over time. Recently, one Litterati member celebrated the incredible milestone of picking up 100,000 pieces of litter.

“We’re one piece of the bigger puzzle. It’s really about capturing the hearts and minds of people and empowering them with the tools they need to make a difference.”

Jeff Kirshner, Founder and CEO of Litterati

8 years since its beginning, Litterati has recorded over 6.5 million pieces of waste collected all around the world, growing at 10,000 pieces per day. This weekend, during the All_Together Global Cleanup challenge, they expect to record 1 million pieces of litter.

Get involved and help make the world a cleaner place! Download the Litterati app today from the App Store or on Google Play.