Last weekend, nearly a hundred students gathered to participate in a campus cleanup at UCSC organized by Trash Talkers, a new Santa Cruz County environmental initiative, in tandem with UCSC’s Sustainability Office and the campus maintenance department.
The event gave a glimpse into what the future of community beautification might look like.
According to organizer Sally-Christine Rodgers, the Trash Talkers coalition, which includes various county organizations and public servants, aims to make Santa Cruz the cleanest county in California.
Their focus is on litter abatement and curbing illegal dumping in the area. Volunteers have participated in various cleanups, including efforts to help flood victims in South County by removing debris from their residences.
Trash Talkers recognizes the importance of engaging with local youth and uses technology as a bridge to reach them. The UCSC cleanup brought together a new generation of environmentalists through a phone app called PishPosh, the “first app to crowdsource urban cleanup and reward those who participate.”
The PishPosh motto: “You can get fined for littering, but you can’t get rewarded for picking up? Nonsense.”
PishPosh CEO Jake Curreri was on hand to demo his new community service app, which seeks to revolutionize how community cleanups are organized.
The San Diego-based company launched in the fall of 2022 and hopes to zero in on Gen Z‘s tech affinity, incentivizing environmental stewardship.
“These are highly passionate people,” Curreri says. “Gen Z can change the perspective on community service.”
PishPosh users log their time on the app and accrue points for every minute they serve. The points can then be used to enter raffles and win prizes from corporate and nonprofit sponsors. A trip to Mexico was the prize for the UCSC event’s raffle.
According to Curreri, the app only focuses on serving coastal cities for now.
Main Beach and Seabright Beach are listed as future PishPosh cleanup sites.
It’s great to see Santa Cruz County and UC Santa Cruz collaborating to launch the Trash Talkers program! This initiative is an important step towards reducing litter and educating people on the importance of proper waste management. It’s inspiring to see communities coming together to address environmental challenges and promote sustainability. Encouraging people to take responsibility for their own waste, reducing single-use plastics, and promoting recycling and composting are all crucial steps in reducing our impact on the planet. I hope that the Trash Talkers program will continue to grow and inspire other communities to take similar action. Keep up the good work!