Sunday, February 16, 2014


I'm chair of the community volunteer committee this year.  One of my favorite things about being on the committee is hearing about all the volunteer projects others know about that I've never heard of before.  For example, the brother of one of the committee members runs a site called Litterati.  The concept is to use Instagram to take and tag photos of trash (that you pick up and throw away - you don't just leave it there) so that it becomes a bit of a game.  Boss asked me if it had any practical application beyond feeling good and potentially adding a badge system to make participants feel any better.

I kicked up a copy of the trash collected around our place of work and showed him the path of trash that followed the sidewalk between the front doors and the far lot.  By looking at the trash pattern we could tell my co-worker was a later to work sort of guy, but also that our workplace could benefit from a few well-placed trash cans at the midpoint.  Or, it could be seen as an experiment and compare trash-over-time.  The same could be done with parks.  Where concentrations of trash were observed might be optimal spots for disposal systems or for focusing cleanup efforts.

Tags can include brands and composition as well so there's an opportunity to determine the origin of common sources of trash.

And if you like trash porn, well, there's lots of that.  I wasn't previously part of Instagram, so I warned folks that I would only be using it for trash (so far they've been treated to trash before the Lego movie outside the theater and trash at Chipotle), but a number of Facebook friends still asked to follow me.  Good luck on that. You might as well follow the Litterati Instagram pull.

Cool site.  Cool idea.  If there was the idea of teams, challenges (find a plastic bottle, a cigarette package, and a gum wrapper), and/or badges (100th cigarette!), it would top notch.  Reminds me very much of the allure of geocaching.

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