This weekend, the #trashtag challenge inspired people to go to locations covered in garbage, pick up the trash, and post before and after pictures on social media.
So far there are more than 26,000 posts tagged on Instagram and countless volunteers have cleaned up parks, roads and beaches around the world.
One group picked up bottle caps, straws and balloons from a beach in California, while another collected plastic thrown out by local people in Junagadh, India.
The challenge became popular after a Reddit post that challenged individuals to “make the world a better place.” But the idea first started in 2015 when outdoors clothing company UCO launched the #TrashTag Project.
“Me and a buddy of mine were out on a road trip in California and a receipt blew out of a window,” recalls Steven Reinhold, a UCO people ambassador at the time. “We kind of felt bad about it because it was in a really pretty location, so we decided to pick up 100 pieces of trash.”
A group in Junagadh, India, posted on Instagram about collecting plastic thrown out by locals.

The #trashtag challenge has been raising awareness of litter pollution and the scale of ocean plastic. Over 150 million tonnes of plastic are in our oceans, according to a World Economic Forum paper from 2016, and a 2018 UK government report warned the amount of plastic polluting the world’s oceans is expected to triple between 2015 and 2025.
Like the Ice Bucket Challenge that raised $115 million for the ALS Association, #trashtag could be a rare social media challenge that makes the world a better place.
“If we all pick up a couple of things, we can all pitch in and make an impact,” says Craig Frazee, UCO junior design engineer. “This is a movement to inspire people to be better stewards of the environment.”