Litterati, an app that encourages users to pick up and track litter, aims to help businesses and organisations to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
The app enables users to identify, collect and geotag the world’s litter before properly discarding of it – allowing them to take photos of what they’ve collected and track their environmental efforts.
The company currently uses the data for analysis. Plastic is the most common tagged item of litter picked up by Litterati users, followed by cigarettes. While packaging from brands such as McDonalds, Coke, Heineken and Starbucks also feature on the list of Litterati’s most tagged.
Second-graders in California mapped more than a 1,000 pieces of litter on their campus to identify trends, and the company has conducted an analysis of litter distribution in San Francisco for the city, leading to an increase in taxes on cigarettes.
The data collected is also helping businesses and communities identify the root of the problem and drive change. Litterati founder Jeff Kirschner said: “It’s the power of what happens when individuals join forces for a greater good.”
Litterati currently has around 60,000 users in 115 countries — who collectively log about 10,000 pieces of picked-up litter a week. Almost 1 million pieces of litter have been picked up by Litterati users around the world to date.
From students in South Africa to activists in Italy, Litterati is essentially creating a global community that’s “crowdsource-cleaning the planet”, and it has become a shining example of how communities are using technology and data to solve the world’s most complex problems.
Jeff Kirschner was inspired to set up the company after walking his children in the woods in Oakland, when his then four-year-old daughter spotted a plastic tub of cat litter lying in a creek and complained: “Daddy, that doesn’t go there”.
Jeff Kirschner said: “Litter is a massive problem. It impacts the economy, the environment, it degrades community pride, it decreases property value, it kills wildlife, and now with the plastic pollution in the ocean situation, it is literally poisoning our food system.”
Litterati’s collective efforts are set to grow. Last month the company raised more than $50,000 via a Kickstarter campaign which will help develop the app and “create even more impact”.
The Litterati app is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea