Zero Litter Project Takes Off in 2015

Zero Litter Impact data 1.29.15

EarthTeam's Zero Litter Project started in September of 2014 with a simple goal: engage East Bay high school students to address litter in their watersheds and communities. EarthTeam started with two year long after school internships with 10 students each and quickly expanded to include over 60 students at 6 schools. Students use Instagram to collect data about litter using hashtags to generate useful info about the details of each piece they pick up. By taking a photo of a piece of litter and uploading it to Instagram students are able to capture a photograph, the material type, and brand name. Taking a photo also generates a geotag where the photo was taken and a timestamp so that students know where and when they found each item. 

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 Using that data students then generate maps of their findings where patterns emerge and the data comes to life. For example, below is a layered and interactive map of litter data from American High School in Fremont showing some of the higher litter areas around campus and what types of litter students are finding. 

 After just 5 months of collecting data, students have a pretty good idea where high litter areas exist and the sources of the litter as well. In 2015, students are turning their focus from heavy data collection to action and solutions that prevent litter before it happens. Each school is focused on a number of efforts from community outreach events, classroom presentations, brochures and signs to art installations, workshops and social media campaigns all designed to increase their impact, educate people and reduce litter at the source. 

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Follow along with the student Zero Litter Project blogs chronicalling their findings, challenges, successes and adventures at the links below. Next time you're out and you see litter, think about joining the students and hastaging #ZeroLitter.

American HS: http://americanhighearthteam.wordpress.com

Oakland HS: http://oaklandhighearthteam.wordpress.com

San Lorenzo HS: http://sanlorenzohighearthteam.wordpress.com

Richmond HS: http://richmondhighearthteam.wordpress.com

Helms MS: http://helmsearthteam.wordpress.com