#Trashtag: Why is it so important?

Date: 29/03/2019 Written by: Daisy 2 minutes to read.
Analysis

Social media trends and challenges don't have the best track record, with so many having the potential to cause harm. However, the most recent challenge to grace our computer screens does the opposite, and is actually being used for social good.

What is #Trashtag?

This newly viral challenge is encouraging people to take a walk outside and pick up any litter that they come across. The Trashtag Challenge is being taken up by people across social media, and some of the before and after pictures are incredible – it’s amazing how simply picking up litter can transform a landscape.

#Trashtag has actually been around for a while, but earlier this month it gained wider recognition following a repost targeting bored, tired teenagers, encouraging them to get up and get outside. Since then, the challenge has gone viral, with tens of thousands of people around the world getting involved and doing their part to clean up their communities.

Not only is this social media trend encouraging people to clean up their communities, but it also raises awareness of the amount of litter that we are producing – particularly plastic waste.

Why do we need #Trashtag?

The reason we need movements like the Trashtag Challenge is simple – because we need to start picking up our litter for the sake of our local communities, local wildlife and ultimately, the environment as a whole. It is estimated that 62% of people in England drop litter, and over 30 million tonnes of litter is collected from England’s streets each year.

Not only is litter unsightly, but it has a major impact on our environment. Litter damages the ecosystem in which it is dumped, and is carried by the wind and weather to streams and rivers, where it ends up in the sea. Therefore, it is no surprise that an estimated 80% of the litter in the sea is from inland. In any ecosystem, litter can create a harmful environment. Toxins that are released from the litter not only have the potential to make animals ill, but to also kill the nearby plant life.

What next?

This social media movement is one of the best so far and I hope that the hype around it is not just temporary – which tends to be the case for most social media trends. However, in order to reduce the amount of litter that we produce, we need to go one step further than this campaign and reduce how much single-use plastic we use.

Every day the UK uses 38.5 million plastic bottles, but only half of these are recycled. In addition to this, an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic from land enters the ocean every year. This threatens marine life and wider ecosystems, and needs to stop. We are already seeing steps towards this with food and drink establishments beginning to offer straws made of paper rather than plastic. Paper bottles do not currently exist, nor do I think they ever will, but there’s definitely no shortage of reusable water bottles out there. If everyone were to use one of these, then perhaps we’d be able to prevent the need for a clean-up in the first place and our marine life would be healthy and thriving.

You might also like

Get the latest insights and other interesting changemaker stuff in your inbox.

Once or twice a month, 100% real and interesting, 0% spam.
We create meaningful digital products that connect with people and make positive change possible.

Home of the changemakers.

We just need a bit more info

Social Change will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at rob@social-change.co.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.