Wonderful Trend: #Trashtag Challenge

Hashtag challenges are as generally varied as they are weird, but some can actually be wonderful. A positive online “challenge” has finally gone viral! For years, online spotlight-seekers and bored teens have followed dangerous and sometimes silly trends. However, the idea of the use of a viral trend to motivate people for good has proved to be an extremely positive force in the world, with the new #trashtag challenge being a perfect example.

Viral trends happen to fall into two categories. The first being the totally terrible and dangerous, such as the inexplicable Tide Pod Challenge. Since apparently ‘don’t eat Tide pods’ still must be said. The second category of viral trends is socially conscious which does not always do what it is intended to do.

Socially conscious challenges include the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, involving thousands of people to dump buckets of ice water on their heads with the exception of actually donating to the cause. The latest viral trend of #Trashtag is in its own category, with the people participating in an easy and safe social movement.

What is #Trashtag Challenge?

The “trashtag challenge” is a wonderful viral trend which has moved people to pick up trash everywhere. The challenge consists of before pictures of areas full of trash and litter heaps and after pictures of what they look like once they are done being cleaned up. People then share the photos on social media platforms using the hashtag #trashtag.

The Start of #Trashtag Challenge

The hashtag first appeared in a 2015 post by the media brand Teton Gravity Research, with the outdoor UCO gear brand, who had tried getting the #UCOTrashTag trend going. The company had pledged to pick up 10,000 tons of garbage in the same year, challenging their customers to make their own goals with trash pickup.

“Help us all by joining the #trashtag project and posting pictures of your own clean-up efforts on Instagram. We are aiming to make a tangible impact on the environment by the use of the galvanizing social media forces,” the company wrote.

Unfortunately, the hashtag never caught on, and it ended up fading away into obscurity; just like most attempts of creating viral trends. Luckily enough, an old photo was able to pick up steam on Facebook, spreading across social media.

The photo appeared to be what sparked the spreading of the trend. It has been traced back to a Reddit post in the Wholesome Memes subreddit, it is, however, not clear where the image originated.

Byron Román, a Facebook user, ignited the trend with a viral post. Roman wrote, “Here is a new #challenge for all you bored teens. Take a photo of an area which needs some maintenance or cleaning, then take a photo afterward after doing something about it, and post it.” The original Facebook post was shared 314,000 times, and it is no longer available.

The #Trashtag challenge made a comeback in March, and people began to use the hashtag to share pictures of themselves, with before and after shots, of the various public areas which were now clean and had once been covered in garbage. People are loving the new makeover of Mother Nature.

It is more than just “bored teens” who have managed to do their part. People throughout the globe are collecting trash from outdoor spaces in their area. Beaches, nature trails, parks, as well as other outdoor spaces got a lot cleaner, thanks to the viral challenge.

The tag now has several people across the globe on Reddit, Instagram, and Twitter. People share photos bagging trash and cleaning up litter. The current tag has featured people cleaning trash on benches, roadsides, and even vacation sites. Many of the before and after pictures show quite a big difference.

Some beaches which had been covered in rubbish have now become pristine thanks to a viral challenge encouraging people cleaning up and posting before and after photos on social media. And unlike other viral trends like ‘planking’ or eating Tide pods, #Trashtag Challenge prompts people to do something meaningful, and it is continuing to trend globally. Everyone should, therefore, ensure that #Trashtag Challenge never ends.


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