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The #Trashtag Challenge

On March 5, 2019, a young man from Arizona made a Facebook post that would go on to spark a global movement, the ripples of which we are still feeling today.

The challenge was originally created by Steven Reinhold in 2015, but after Byron shared his photo, it sparked a new viral trend. Byron Román had a simple challenge for the “bored teens” of the internet. Take a photo of an area ruined by littering, and another after you have done something about it. 

Practising what he preached, the post contained two images: one of Drici Tani Younes from Algeria sitting in an area strewn with trash, and another standing next to the nine bags of rubbish he had just filled, restoring the area.

The name for the new challenge? #TrashTag.

Echos of the movement would be felt from Vietnam to the Philippines, with the hashtag racking up 25,000 posts within a single week. The movement resonated well with everyone around the world, demonstrating small actions that could be performed on a local scale to make the world just a little bit cleaner than it was before.

As Román put it “We’re all in this together”.

From the pointlessly amusing ‘plank’ challenge, to the dangerous idea of making people eat toxic laundry pods, internet challenges always come and go. But more inspiring are the ones that leave a positive imprint on the world. For example, in 2014, the ice bucket challenge raised money and awareness for those suffering from ALS. Going even further back to 2003, Movember started a community movement for men’s health. 

To this day, there is nothing stopping anyone with a phone and a pair of hands from cleaning up their local area, and gaining a few points of “social credit” online while doing so.


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