In August 2021, Wake County launched a Litterati Engage challenge for its 86It campaign. The 86It intends to change littering behavior and instill a sense of community pride and responsibility amongst residents.
A major part of Wake County’s success strategy was to reach out to its various municipalities and local service organizations to recruit volunteers and amplify the overall impact of the campaign.
One of those local organizations was the League of Women Voters (LWV), a grassroots nonpartisan political organization committed to empowering voters and defending democracy.
The LWV started as a mighty political experiment designed to help 20 million newly enfranchised women vote in 1920. Today it remains as an important civil organization and is a recognized force that molds political leaders, shapes public policy, and promotes informed citizen participation at all levels of government.
Litter is detracting from the beauty of Wake County and the cities within it like Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and more.
Litter decreases neighborhood pride and its presence can beget more litter in addition to potentially increasing the prevalence of other issues like graffiti, vandalism, and robbery if it accumulates in the environment.
“North Carolina is a beautiful state. Raleigh is a beautiful city. Wake County is great. But you drive down the road, and there’s so much garbage on the street.”
– Mignon Tucker, Wake County Resident
Wake County granted one of their Engage partner account licenses to the League of Women Voters and they used it to create their own litter challenge under Wake’s overall account.
And LWV volunteers got involved in the effort to clean up Wake County. One of the citizens was the above quoted Mignon Tucker who began noticing increasing amounts of litter as she was walking her dogs.
Mignon made it her New Year’s Resolution to pick up litter while getting exercise with her pets. Mignon began posting her litter hauls on NextDoor where she connected with another LWV volunteer Jeri Gray.
Jeri invited Mignon to join the LWV Litterati challenge, but when Mignon replied that she doesn’t use a smart phone Jeri began to join her on her litter walks.
LWV Volunteer Jeri Gray understood the value of gathering data on the litter Mignon was cleaning up each day.
Says Gray, “Litterati will allow us to identify places where litter is worst and come up with strategies to reduce or eliminate litter.”
Despite Mignon not having a smart phone to document litter in the Litterati app, these women worked together to beautify their neighborhood.
Jeri remarked, “We’ve learned that most people really hate litter and desperately want solutions to the problem. Many will help clean up if they are encouraged and enabled to do so.”
The Clean Up Wake County challenge has cleaned and collected data on over 9,500 pieces of litter, putting them nearly halfway to their challenge goal of 20,000 pieces just a few months into a yearlong campaign.
Within a month, LWV has activated and engaged 10 volunteers themselves and have already far surpassed their organization’s original challenge goal.
With their current challenge wrapping up, the LWV volunteers are already brainstorming what their next challenge topic should be and looking forward to getting more people involved.