People Are Picking Up Trash and Sharing Before-and-After Photos for the “Trashtag Challenge”

It's hard to imagine social media without viral challenges. Through instant shares and interconnected networks, platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit have popularized the trend, which invites users to tackle different prompts. While many challenges are just for fun, some end up making a difference. The #IceBucketChallenge raised money for ALS research; the #InsideOutChallenge promoted mental health awareness; and, now, the #Trashtag challenge is motivating people to clean up public spaces.

This clever hashtag has gained traction in the last few days, popping up in posts across platforms. Most of the posts marked #Trashtag feature photos of public spaces before and after being cleaned, from rural riverbanks to city sidewalks. Some show people in the process of participating in the challenge, and others proudly present rows of full garbage bags.

While the #Trashtag challenge is more popular than ever, it has in fact been around for years. In 2015, UCO—an outdoor lighting company—launched the #TrashTag Project, a campaign that pushed people to pick up litter in their day-to-day lives. Since then, the hashtag has seen a slow-but-steady growth.

So, how does UCO feel about #Trashtag's sudden surge in popularity? “We are stoked to see this initiative gaining some recent momentum,” the company shared on Instagram, “and hopefully others are inspired to do their part in keeping the great outdoors as it should be . . . CLEAN!”

See some of the best before-and-after photos from the #Trashtag challenge.


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#trashtag seems to be going viral. This is one from Nepal. This is the kind of internet craze I can get behind. ✊🏼💚

A post shared by Vegan Memes From The Soul (@veganmemedealer) on


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A post shared by Конный Петербург (@horses_spb) on


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A post shared by Plastic Free Cayman (@plastic_free_cayman) on

#trashtag there's an organisation I volunteer at and we basically do cleanups like this in the city. Places that have been forgotten by the local government and make them accessible for the public. Peace. from r/pics

This is just a work of an hour! #trashtag from r/pics

h/t: [Buzzfeed News]

Related Articles:

People Use 10-Year Challenge to Show How Devastatingly Different Our Planet Looks

Volunteers Collect 12,000 Tons of Plastic Trash on a Beach in Mumbai

Modern Samurai Soldiers in Japan Are Using Their Sword Skills to Pick Up Trash

Young Student Nicknamed “Trash Girl” Defies Bullies And Continues to Pick Up Litter

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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