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Litter Prevention & Cleanup

Data: A New Weapon in the Fight Against Litter

Download the Litterati App and Fight Litter with Data

The next time you’re driving in your car, riding your bike, or simply taking a walk, take a quick glance at the side of the road. We guarantee that you’ll see litter. And not just a few pieces of litter, but hundreds if not thousands of pieces strewn the length of every mile across our Commonwealth.

Litter is on our roadsides, our exit ramps, our wetlands, our forests, and our front lawns. It’s everywhere—and no matter how much you pick up, it seems to come back the very next day.

The good news is that there’s a new weapon in the fight against litter—data. Using the Litterati app, people around the world are snapping photos of litter and then cleaning it up. Around the world, more than 11 million pieces of litter in 165 countries have been picked up using the Litterati app. Here’s how YOU can join in the movement:

  • Download the free and easy to use Litterati app on your iPhone or Android device
  • Open the app and photograph a piece of litter with it
  • Discard the litter properly and tag the photo. Tagging litter is just like tagging your family photos with people’s names, dates, and locations
  • Invite or challenge others to join you. More on this in a moment!
  • Use the recorded litter data to get neighbors, local businesses, companies, community organizations, and local government to implement targeted litter reduction action plans

Volunteers in the Town of Westford, Massachusetts started using Litterati in February 2021. Since then, 55 residents have joined a "Litterati Challenge" to pick up 10,000 pieces of litter before year-end. With the collected data, local organizers were able to create a Litter Map that shows the exact locations where pieces of litter have been photographed (and cleaned up). Each photograph has the time and location of pickup, type of litter, and the company brand.

With this data, local organizers can determine exactly which companies cause the most litter in their town or city. Local government leaders can determine the most effective locations to place trash cans. Volunteer groups will know where to spend their time while having the highest impact on protecting our wildlife and preventing litter from entering our waterways. 

We encourage you to launch a new Litterati challenge in your town. Set a goal and then share your unique challenge code with friends in town, the local news media, and on social media. One easy way to share this idea locally is to create a Keep (name of your town or city) Facebook group. Contact us if you need help creating a group. We can provide technical and graphic design help at no cost to you. And if you need help using the Litterati app, we can provide technical assistance for that too. 

We invite you to download the Litterati app and join the growing community of anti-litter initiatives here in Massachusetts. Let’s make a lasting change in our state!

Here’s one more action you can take: Sign our petition at www.change.org/litterfreemass and urge our state leaders to launch a statewide Litter Prevention & Cleanup Task Force.

To learn more about Litterati, visit Litterati Stories or watch the Litterati Ted Talk.

The Town of Westford's Litter Hotspot Map