#ADayWithoutWaste: How Social Media Encourages Social Change

Cell PhoneOur phones are usually never more than a two foot radius away from us. While some may see this as a negative, connecting through social media can raise awareness for meaningful causes like environmental protection and sustainability. In particular, trash is one subject that most people can relate to and was the focus of a global campaign, A Day Without Waste.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces 4.38 pounds of trash per day. Armed with the staggering statistics, the nonprofit Global Citizen partnered with Ekocycle, which makes products from consumer waste, to start A Day Without Waste on April 9. The campaign encouraged people to think twice about consumer habits like using disposable bags, drinking coffee from single-use cups and ordering to-go meals.

The campaign used social media as a way to connect with its millennial target group. According to a YPulse study, 68% of 14-30 year-olds get information from social media like Facebook and Twitter. As more young people turn to social for the news, A Day Without Waste primarily used Twitter to spread its message of sustainability through the hashtag #ADayWithoutWaste.

Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 10.16.18 AMCelebrity support and influence helped spread the word about the campaign. Glee star Dianna Agron, encouraged her Twitter followers to reflect on the trash we create and take action.

Co-founder of Global Citizen Ryan Gall said:

“The reality is that a lot of people need a little bit of a push and they need a bit of a direction to know what actions to take. So we created GlobalCitizen.org and the Global Citizen Festival in order to reward supporters who take certain social actions.”

Social media is a powerful communication tool where people can take social action. Whether it’s to show support, share a photo or connect with other volunteers, social media can ignite social change. Although A Day Without Waste asks people to commit to reducing trash for one day, the hope is people will start to actually rethink wasteful habits and commit to a permanent change. Sometimes we all need some encouragement, so let’s do this together.

What changes have you made to limit the trash we create?

For more inspiration to live a life with less trash, A Day Without Waste created this video to compare the disposable lifestyle with a more eco-friendly mindset: