Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2021

Clean-ups might make public spaces a little bit neater but they’re far from actually solving the problem of litter in the long-run. The Litterati app wants to change that by giving people a platform to upload information about the litter they collect outside and share it online.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “How then does putting pictures of trash on the web help solve the problem?” Well, by doing so, the Litterati community contributes to building a global database of “litter maps”, which can influence policy and packaging design — thus tackling the issue at the source.

The founder of the app, Jeff Kirschner, came up with the idea while walking in a forest with his then-four-year-old kid, who noticed a plastic kitty litter in a creek and noted that it shouldn’t have been there. This comment prompted Kirschner to come up with a solution that could empower concerned individuals to make a real dent in the problem.

“We’ve transformed the painstaking method of the manual collection into an AI-powered platform. And with an open model. Our Global Litter Database now contains over 8 million pieces, growing at about 20,000 per day. This information includes the objects, materials, brands, and their location,” said Kirschner.

And the best thing, the app has already had a tangible impact on communities across the world. In San Francisco, for example, Litterati was able to identify more than 5,000 pieces of trash in order to determine how much was generated by cigarettes alone. Equipped with this data, the city successfully challenged a lawsuit by tobacco companies and doubled an existing cigarette sales tax, generating $4 million in annual revenue, TreeHugger reports.

In the Netherlands, the app’s data has helped push a Dutch candy brand to rethink its non-recyclable plastic packaging and instead adopt a more sustainable alternative in the form of waxed paper.

Should you be interested in joining the Litterati community, consider downloading the app on your phone by following this link.

Image source: Litterati

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