Making trash go viral, in a good way

By Caroline Carpenter / ADOT Communications

Picking up cigarette butt with grabbers

We've learned there are a lot of people out there passionate about cleaning up their communities. Now there is a hashtag for them! Recently, the hashtags #Trashtag and #TrashtagChallenge starting trending on social media and went viral.

We'll explain for those you wondering: What is a hashtag, and what would I do with it?

In mid-March, people used the hashtag #Trashtag and posted photos of themselves cleaning up litter. Hikers collected trash on the mountains and beachgoers cleaned up the beaches. Then they posted selfies picking up litter and hashtagged them #Trashtag. A hashtag is like a Google search for social media. Users can go onto social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and use a hashtag to search for topics of interest. The hashtag #Trashtag was so popular that media outlets like Forbes, the BBC and Huffington Post took notice, writing stories about the movement.

If this hashtag inspires you to help make Arizona litter-free, we hope you'll consider turning that passion into action by becoming an Adopt a Highway volunteer. Hundreds of individuals and organizations have adopted stretches of state highways, and more stretches are available.

We'll provide safety vests, litter bags and safety training, and your group's name goes on an Adopt a Highway sign at the location. Volunteers agree to pick up litter there, preferably three or more times per year.

The efforts of Adopt a Highway volunteers go a long way toward keeping the highways clean and beautiful. That's a spirit we'd like to see go viral just like #Trashtag.