The Trash Hack campaign aims to encourage young people to learn about sustainability through tackling waste. Education is at the heart of the campaign.
The campaign will promote simple actions young people can take to combat waste in neighborhoods and homes. The Trash Hack website will provide examples of concrete actions they can take against waste, inspiration from other young people who have Trash Hacked their lives and tips on how to share their passion for sustainability.


Implemented in

  • Africa
  • Asia / Pacific
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Latin America / Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • North America

Led by

Sectors of activity
Education, Waste, incl. Chemicals

Type of initiative
Education & Awareness Raising

Start date

Shared by

Bernard Combes

Programme Specialist, Education for Sustainable Development


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When it comes to tackling the world’s waste, it can be hard to know where to start. But by making small changes to your life, you can reduce your negative impact, increase your understanding and start to see how you can be part of transforming the world.
UNESCO's Trash Hack campaign is a global campaign encouraging young people to take action to promote sustainable development, reflect on their actions, and share their learnings. Education through action is at the heart of this campaign, as UNESCO’s unique added value to the sustainable development agenda, with litter-picking as an entry point to the campaign.
The campaign will ask young people to:
• Know the problem: Identify an area of waste in your life you can reduce, research the impact you are having, and the change you could make.
• Take action: Building from your knowledge and research, decide a small step you plan to take – yourself or with friends – to reduce your impact. Take a #TrashHack pledge on Instagram, organize a cleanup or aim for zero waste.
• Encourage others: Share our Trash Hacks, and ask them to think about how they can reduce their waste.
These easy actions are just the first step of the campaign, which will encourage young people to use that action as an entry point to understanding more about waste, engage further by sharing their own Trash Hacks on social media with #TrashHack and to celebrate what they’ve achieved and learnt using the hashtag.
The Trash Hack campaign is rooted in project-based learning. Tacking waste is an entry point to a deeper engagement with global waste systems, sustainable consumption and linking issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and waterways.


As collected through the One Planet Reporting

No activities have yet been reported under this initiative

Impact and Results

Each year the world generates over 2 billion tonnes of waste. Trash clogs our oceans, fills our streets and litters huge areas of the planet. Becoming a Trash Hacker will help young people take action to tackle trash, change their thinking on waste and inspire others to do the same.
Trash Hacks will be different for each person, depending on their lifestyle, location and situation. Start by asking yourself: how can I Trash Hack my life? Look for ways you can start to act in your life by asking questions like: how much trash do I use? Where does my waste go? Where does the trash in my neighbourhood come from?

Next steps and how to get involved

Though the campaign will be predominantly online via social media and a microsite, there will be regional activations by UNESCO's Field Offices and at the World Conference on ESD in Berlin in May 2021.
How to get involved:
• Share the pre-prepared social media posts, videos and images with #TrashHack
Head to Trello to find updated copy and images in English, French and Spanish ( and here in French and Spanish ( Please get in touch if you want any content translated to your local language.
• Create your own #TrashHack tips or feature inspirational young people from your local area
You can download the editable PowerPoint templates here ( to create Trash Hack branded content of your own.
• Spread the word with your youth networks
Do you have young people in your network that should be involved in the campaign? Share this information with them or let us know by emailing

If you have another way you would like to be part of the campaign or a contribution you would like to make to the Trash Hack blog (, let us know.