Beautify your neighborhood and participate in a community science project!

Are you taking walks around your neighborhood and noticing litter on the ground?

Did you know?: Litter can enter watersheds via creeks and storm drains that end up in the San Francisco Bay and ultimately the ocean? This poses a threat to the wellness of wildlife and our planet. We work with Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program to help reduce various types of runoff from polluting our waterways and habitats. Here is a fun way you and your family can help!

Step 1: Grab gloves, a trash bag, and a trash picker if you have one.

Try to reuse and re-purpose bags at home to use as trash bags such as grocery bags, bread bags, or newspaper bags. Do not pick up litter that you feel is unsafe to handle. If you encounter waste that is hazardous, inaccessible, or too large to pick up you can contact your local waste management.

Step 2: Download the Litterati - Cleaning the Earth app on your smartphone (optional).

Litterati is similar to Instagram, you take a photo of the trash you find and hashtag it with keywords and brand names such as: #plastic, #bottle, #cocacola, etc. The founder of Litterati will then be able to analyze and present the data to companies to develop new ways of reducing trash in your community and all over the world.

Step 3: Take pictures of the litter you collect.

Step 4: Dispose of litter safely and properly.

Depending on what types of litter you encounter please dispose of it in the proper disposal bins (i.e. compost, recyclables, or landfill).

It is very important that you remove your gloves properly. Use the following steps to take off your gloves safely.

  • Grasp the outside of one glove at the writs. Do not touch your bare skin.
  • Peel the glove away from your body pulling it inside out.
  • Hold the glove you just removed in your gloved hand.
  • Peel off the second glove by putting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist.
  • Turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, leaving the first glove inside the second.
  • Dispose of the gloves safely. Do not reuse the gloves.
  • Clean your hands immediately after removing gloves.
How to safely take off gloves. Credit US CDC.

Step 5: Email and include:

  • At least one picture of the litter you picked up.
  • An estimate of how much you picked up.
  • Your mailing address to receive your prize (optional)

Step 6: Await your prize in the mail!

If you prefer not to include your address, let us know if you’d like to pick up your prize at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Education Center in Alviso, once the facility reopens.

Litterati was created by Jeff Kirschner after his family went for a walk in the Oakland hills and encountered a plastic tub of kitty litter dumped in a stream. His four-year-old daughter — baffled by what she saw — exclaimed, “Daddy, that doesn’t go there!” which prompted Jeff to think more deeply about what he could do to leave a more environmentally stable planet for his children. Drawing on his background in start-up technology, Kirschner envisioned a way to engage and inspire individuals to take action whenever they could, wherever they were.

The goal is also to stop litter before it starts, and photographs of cigarette butts and fast food containers are a stark reminder of the need for new strategies for reaching the public who still casually discard such items. Through keyword tags, the project also documents the products and brands that generate the most litter, enabling Litterati to take a data-driven approach towards smarter solutions. As Jeff says,

Individually, one can make a difference. Together, we can create an impact.