Efforts to stop littering and dumping used a lot of different ploys over the decades, mostly with PSAs and other print or broadcast TV campaigns.
But in the age of the internet and social media, someone came up with a new tactic.
According to outdoor industry publication snews:
"The UCO #TrashTag Project was conceived by UCO People ambassador, Steven Reinhold, during a period of guilt after his receipt from a self-indulgent shopping spree flew out the window."
"Haunted by this inadvertent littering episode, Reinhold vowed to gather 100 pieces of trash during his road trip – and he did. Returning home from his adventure, Reinhold pitched an expansion of his vision to the UCO team, and the movement began."
The hashtag pops up again and again on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram.
It recently went viral again, but unlike other viral challenges, this is one we can all get behind. People around the world post images of an area that needs to be cleaned up and what it looks like after they do the work to get it clean.
#trashtag #TrashChallenge Finally‼️A challenge that is useful for people and nature and life and everything! 👏👏👏👏 https://t.co/5w12VFCODv— Goñi (@Goñi)1552413351.0
Our team has been doing the #TrashtagChallenge since before it was cool! Help clean up our world—show us your befo… https://t.co/tWlOEZsSse— Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (@Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant)1552413348.0
Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens. Take a photo of an area that needs some cleaning or maintenance,… https://t.co/Vc92LpBnqs— trashtagchallenge (@trashtagchallenge)1552271059.0
Some share just the after showing how much they cleaned up.
Usually I’m against doing good deeds just to post it online but in the case of #trashtag i am 100% for it, if that’… https://t.co/QIvj8s6Zh1— Megan (@Megan)1552250604.0
But seeing the before is impactful too.
Decided to pick up trash for my birthday and filled up 4 bags #20 #trashtag https://t.co/EHl12o6aT5— City Dave (@City Dave)1552256821.0
The Belmont community cleaned up last weekend, and Sri Sathya Sai Baba is hosting a cleanup this weekend! Who's nex… https://t.co/i1E9p3LA0u— HNS Charlotte (@HNS Charlotte)1552412159.0
Here's from Nagaland, India. Students from #tetsocollege with the #trashtag movement! #ChallengeAccepted… https://t.co/zQAzCIviMY— UnBHAKT (@UnBHAKT)1552301927.0
@AsocParqueDunar #ProyectoLIBERA #Libera1m2 #HéroesLibera #Basuraleza #trashtag #trashchallenge #trashtagchallenge… https://t.co/kBUTPcDa0q— MontBerm (@MontBerm)1552412074.0
Before and after. Makeup and clothes dumped near Moston Brook, now cleaned up 😀#litterpick #TrashTag https://t.co/9GsFIUORaI— Moston Litter Picker (@Moston Litter Picker)1552296313.0
Shoutout to the D2Lers + Olli 🐶 who participated in the #trashtag challenge on this lovely, sunny day! ☀️ Learn mor… https://t.co/Ad0p6Oq1iL— D2L (@D2L)1552411946.0
Want to take the #TrashTag challenge? Join UMBC's Environmental Task Force for their weekly litter clean up's on Fr… https://t.co/9CklGGUZnI— Sustainability@UMBC (@Sustainability@UMBC)1552411349.0
Viral challenges can be silly and in some cases downright dangerous, but #TrashTag is something our world can definitely benefit from.
You can join one in your area or create your own.
Bravo to UCO for starting the ball rolling!