This App Encourages People To Take Pictures Of Their Trash To Make Recycling Easier

One of the biggest databases of pollution that's been picked up off the streets has been upgraded to make the experience easier. Litterati, downloadable on iOS and Android devices, now allows for better collaboration, advanced tagging, and easier photo uploads.


May 14 2019, Updated 2:48 p.m. ET

Litterati, a mobile app that’s geared toward making trash pickup a community event, has recently updated their program with new features. It’s now easier for people to collaborate their efforts to pick up trash, upload their pictures to the collection, and categorizing litter with more tags. Further updates to increase engagement are also planned for the app.

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There’s plenty of times where we’ve walked past cans, bottles, and bags that are scattered all over roads and sidewalks. Litterati provides a way for anybody to take a picture of it, tag it, and throw it away. The idea is to create a global database of what’s not being disposed of properly to gain a better understanding and to make these products more sustainable.

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Source: Twitter
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So far, over 1.3 million pieces of trash have been tagged on the app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices. Plastic represents a quarter of all garbage that’s been picked up alone. The numbers are good, but founder Jeff Kirschner has more of a focus on making a better map.

“We're far more concerned engagement metrics, application stickiness, and user behavior,” Kirschner told Green Matters. “How do we deliver a wonderful experience for each community member so that they're inspired to pick up just one more piece, and then one more?”

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While Litterati has already been an incredible success in cleaning up the environment, but they’re striving to do more. In an effort to increase interaction, they’ve recently created Litterati Clubs, a handy way to organize environmental groups or schools together. Anyone can create or join a group and invite some friends.

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“We just launched Litterati Clubs for groups to form and track their combined impact,” Kirschner said. “In just the first month, over 500 Clubs were formed around the world, and this could become an effective way for specific activities and events to be promoted.”

The company will be collaborating with the United Nations Environment Program during World Environment Day on June 5th to promote cleanup efforts. Kirschner said that the app’s “community identified, mapped, and collected nearly 50,000 pieces of litter” during the week leading up to Earth Day in April.

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In order to easily identify trash that’s being collected, Litterati noticed that many of their collectors would use multiple tags for their products. They’ve created a new system to identify products picked up by category, object, material, and brand (easily remembered as “COMB”). This creates a smarter identification system and data that’s easier to organize.

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Other notable updates include a sleeker, brighter design that’s faster to navigate. They’ve also made it easier to upload photos instead of needing to do it manually. Kirschner notes that they’ll be adding in-app maps in the future, making it easier for everyone to track their individual efforts in picking up trash.

“We're considering a variety of engagement methods and gamification techniques,” Kirschner said. “From badges to leaderboards to rewards, everything is on the table.”

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