About Litterati

Gallatin River Cleanup | Photo by Brooke Hellstrom
Gallatin River Cleanup | Photo by Brooke Hellstrom

The Litterati mobile app allows users to photograph, upload and tag litter in their area. Using the app’s “challenges” feature, you can set goals to pick up litter, invite friends to take the challenge, measure progress in real time or join existing “challenges” organized by Litterati partners like National River Cleanup®. The litter data collected is used to inform policy, influence packaging and inspire personal responsibility.

By using Litterati and joining American Rivers’ National River Cleanup challenge, you will help reduce and prevent litter from threatening wildlife and contaminating our rivers. We all deserve clean and healthy rivers and we need your help to do this.

How to participate:

1. Download the free Litterati app on your mobile device using the App Store or Google Play
2. Join the National River Cleanup challenge using the code: NRC2022
3. Claim your account (see below for instructions) to save your tracked litter, access all tools and data
4. Photograph a piece of litter and discard properly. Find a discarded coffee cup, crushed soda can, candy wrapper, or any other piece of litter & take a picture
5. Tag the photo

How to Use Litterati

How do I claim my account?

In the app, click on Profile, which is a circular multi-colored icon in the top left corner. Under Profile, click on the light blue button labeled Claim Your Account. Click sign up with email and follow the steps.

How do I take photos?

Open the 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 focus. We recommend positioning your phone at least 1 meter from the ground and wait 3 seconds for your camera to focus.

How do I tag litter?

The tagging feature allows users to accurately label images of litter. Use the Tagging feature to 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.

Litter Collection Tips:

1. Bring a buddy with you – one person can take the photos while the other identifies and collects the litter.
2. Go to a public space like a park, creek or trail in or near your neighborhood to find litter.
3. Carry a bag to collect the litter.
4. Practice social distancing of at least 6 feet between you and others not in your household.
5. Wear a face mask and gloves.
6. Only pick up trash that you’re comfortable collecting. Place sharp objects like broken glass in a solid container and safely dispose it in a trash bin.
7. Dispose litter on-site if available or at your house.

Tips and Tricks

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.

Can I take photos in the app without cell service and upload them to the app later?


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 would 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 for the battery drain is due to the app’s location services and GPS accuracy mode. Before participating, we recommend:

  • Ensuring 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.
  • Closing all other apps when using the Litterati app. Change your phone settings to “power saving mode.”
  • Changing 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.