Man’s Viral #Trashtag Challenge Sends People All Over the World on Garbage Hunt

HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C.—Not long ago, a local man started a social media effort to inspire people to pick up trash in nature. The #trashtag project took off by the thousands, and, now, it’s now capturing worldwide attention with viral status.

Steven Reinhold loves the bits and pieces of nature, but not pieces of trash. Hiking 10 miles to a mountaintop out west a few years back sparked an idea. He started #trashtag to encourage people to pick up trash they come across outdoors.

“Original goal was 10,000 pieces of trash,” Reinhold said.

It worked. From thousands inspired to pick up trash, it has grown to much bigger numbers, courtesy, Reinhold said, of an Arizona man who challenged teens on Facebook about a week ago to take before and after pictures of their cleanup efforts.

“Byron Roman put up this post, and it just went completely viral, I think, on Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram,” Reinhold said. “In terms of viral, I feel like there’s probably like a million pieces getting picked up almost on a daily basis within just a week.”

Its captured national and international response and national media attention, too.

Reinhold said it’s a dream come true.

“It makes me feel amazing, honestly,” he said.

Residents like the movement.

“I think everybody in the world should be picking up trash instead of throwing it out their window. I’m getting sick of seeing it,” said Pete Baratta from Cruso.

Reinhold sees the #trashtag and #trashtagchallenge working and hopes it inspires a bigger dialogue.

“It kind of starts the conversation of why is there so much trash. What can we do to maybe reduce this in the future to where we don’t ever have this problem,” he said.

Reinhold owns and operates the Appalachian Adventure Co. in Sylva. He takes patrons on guided hikes to see, what he hopes is trash-free nature.

Response From Around the World

Forty students from a Norwegian Folk High School spent a week cleaning up trash from a local beach and picked up over 27,337 pounds of trash.

A group at the Mississippi River collected 14,353 pounds of trash.

Salt River was cleaned by 700 people in 2 hours.

A group from Vietnam collected many bags of trash from what looks like a forest.

The campaign also went viral in Nepal, with many college students participating.

Thousands of volunteers gathered to collect trash from Manila Bay on Jan. 27.

Trash gathered from a small beach in #kitescove.

The Epoch Times reporter Venus Upadhayaya contributed to this report.

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