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Social Media Users Clean Up Public Spaces Thanks To #Trashtag Challenge

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new social media challenge is cleaning up the planet one post at a time.

CBS2's Valerie Castro explains what the #Trashtag Challenge is all about and why it's attracting a worldwide audience.

From the Cinnamon Challenge, to the Tide Pod Challenge, for years, kids and teens have been participating in dangerous internet trends – doing it usually for attention. But now, there's a new, helpful contest most will want to get behind.

"It's a good, positive use of social media," Carter Olson, of the Upper East Side, told Castro.

"The pendulum's swinging back. I think that the new generation is picking up on everything, thank god," said Andrea Diamond.

The hashtag is going viral with thousands of social media posts popping up that show people voluntarily picking up garbage in places like parks, beaches and sides of highways, sometimes cleaning the spaces up completely.

"I already do it at home, so why not doing it at the park?" Blerina Kanina, of Queens, said.

The challenge is trending mostly with millennials and teens.

"This is a great opportunity to really care for your environment," said Alexandra Kovach.

The 17-year-old and her younger sister said their friends share everything on social media, and this is something productive to show off.

"We are in an age where everything is cyber and we all want to connect with each other through the use of social media, so this is a great way to let your neighbors know," she said.

According to social media expert Kris Ruby, #Trashtag started years ago but recently gained traction. She believes the Netflix show "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" is why. The popular show teaches people who to declutter their homes, and many are hooked.

"If we could come up with other things like this, many more millennials will do it, as long as they can throw it on their Instagram story or Facebook story and get likes," said Ruby.

Likes from their followers and love from the environment they're helping.

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