Frequently Asked Questions

How do I photograph the litter?

Open the Litterati app and click on the blue camera icon in the bottom right corner to take and upload a photo of trash. To take clear pictures, wait 3 seconds for your camera to autofocus. We recommend positioning your phone at least 1 meter from the ground and wait 3 seconds for your camera to focus. Click here to watch the How to Use the Litterati App – Video.

How do I tag litter?

The tagging feature allows users to accurately label images of litter and provide detail and insight on each piece of litter you collect. Add 1 – 3 tags per image. Ideally, each litter item will have tags representing three different descriptions (object name, material and brand). For example, if you find an aluminum can of soda, you can apply unlimited tags to your photo with “soda can” and/or “can,” “aluminum” and tag the brand. Watch the Data, AI, Tagging and Gallery video for more info on how to tag litter in the app.

For additional instructions on using Litterati, watch the How to Use the Litterati App – Video.

Can I use the app when I am off the grid or have limited cell service or phone signal?

The app does not require mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection to capture photos within the app. Mobile data or a Wi-Fi connection is required to upload the photos to the Litterati database. If you do not log out or delete the app, any photos captured will remain stored in the app until you have service again. Once you are in service, open the app and your photos will upload to the cloud server.

Please note: Your litter will only count towards the challenge if it is uploaded by the end of the challenge period. Upload all photos to Litterati.

Can I take photos outside of the app and upload them to the app later?

Yes. Photos can be uploaded to the app while in camera mode. To do this, click on the blue camera icon like you do to take a picture. In camera mode, in the bottom left corner, click on the picture icon, then select the photo(s), click “Done” and upload. If your phone’s camera settings allow photos to have geotagging, then the photo’s location will be automatically included in your upload.

How do I prevent the app from draining my battery?

The main cause of battery drain is from using the app’s location services and GPS accuracy mode. Before participating, we recommend the following:

  • Ensure your phone battery is fully charged. If you are going somewhere for a few hours or will be using your phone’s maps or GPS, bring a charging cord or a portable charging device.
  • Close all other apps when using the Litterati app. Change your phone settings to “power saving mode.”
  • Change your photo uploading settings in the app to Wi-Fi only by going to your “Profile.” Under “Settings,” select “upload via Wi-Fi only.”

What happens if the app crashes and how do I prevent it?

If your app crashes while uploading photos, your collected data and photos should remain unharmed. While your photos are uploading, wait and do not exit out of the app until the upload finishes. Avoid switching between multiple apps while using Litterati.

I have a question that wasn’t answered here, who can I ask?

Please send an email to with your question. American Rivers staff will respond to your message within 48 hours during regular business hours.