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What’s your APPtitude? Litterati wants to make litter disappear

By Amanda Merriman

I love watching TED talks. It is fantastic to have access to videos of people sharing new ideas and ways of addressing issues. I recently listened to a TED talk about the creation of Litterati, an app that takes on the problem of litter.

Jeff Kirschner noticed some trash in a creek while on a walk with his daughters. This got him thinking about how to fix this problem. Then when picking his kids up from a summer camp, he heard the counselors ask everyone to pick up five pieces of litter before they left. After seeing how quickly litter could be picked up with the help of a group, the idea for Litterati was born.

Litterati is free to download on iOS or Android devices. The app is very easy to use. If you see a piece of trash when you are outside, use Litterati to take a picture and then simply dispose of it. Then you upload the snapshots to the “digital landfill” within the app. When you upload them, pictures can be tagged to indicate the brand or type of trash it is. Collecting this data allows cities to understand the scope of the problem. It also provides a stunning visual of the impact of a community cleanup. Countries all over the world are using Litterati, and the app boasts over 1.1 million items have been disposed of to date.

Whether we think about the issue of litter or not, it still affects our environment. When the snow slowly recedes during springtime, I have witnessed the surprising amount of trash uncovered. Also, my house is located just off a somewhat busy road with a bike path. We end up finding a fair amount of trash that gets blown into the yard. My family likes to hike and I plan to use the app with them during those times. Litterati has a lot of potential in school and community clean-up settings as well.

As I write this article, Earth Day approaches. I cannot think of a better time to use the app. I encourage readers to check out Litterati and help make our world a cleaner place. Readers, if you use Litterati in any neighborhood, school or household clean-up projects, I would love to hear about it. Share your experiences with me via email at



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