You can use Instagram to do a lot of things and Jeff Kirschner wants to use it to create a litter-free world.
"Inspired by my four-year old daughter, Litterati is a global community that's cleaning the planet - one piece of litter at a time," writes Kirschner on Medium. "It all started when I took this photograph on Instagram and added the hashtag #Litterati."
Over the next few days, Kirschner Istamgrammed and threw away 20 more pieces of little. Using Instagram allowed him to quantify the difference he was making in his community.
"I started telling people what I was doing," writes Kirschner. "One cigarette butt turned into 150,000+ pieces and a movement that's cleaning up the world." You can check out the Instagram hashtag here and the website for the effort here.
Because Instagram allows geo-tagging, using the #Litterati hashtag can help map areas where litter is a big problem. Time stamps can show patterns in when litter becomes a problem. Kirschner points out that if people use hashtags to identify the most commonly found brands and products that end up as litter, companies might address the problem. "How might companies use this information to be more environmentally mindful?" writes Kirschner. "It could lead to product innovation, sustainable packaging, and educating their customers. Instead of being seen as the villain, they can be the hero."
A school in California tried using Instagramming and throwing away litter around the school buildings and the school's administration realized that the most common kind of litter were straws and the paper wrapping around straws. "So they made a change. They stopped using straws and started using reusable water bottles. Simple and effective," writes Kirschner.
I like the ingenuity of Kirschner's idea. And it takes so little effort from casual Instagrammers. Maybe I'll tag some #Litterati of my own and throw it away.
Here's the photo that started the movement: