Trash Hack: young people rethink waste in their schools, homes and communities with UNESCO

By Giulia Ceriani, UNESCO

Each year the world generates over two billion tonnes of waste. Trash clogs our oceans, fills our streets and litters huge areas of the planet. Waste and over consumption are both contributors to the climate crisis. If we continue to live the way we do now, the equivalent of almost three planets would be needed by 2050 to provide the natural resources.

To tackle this global problem through education, UNESCO, with support from the Government of Japan, launched the global campaign Trash Hack on the occasion of World Cleanup Day 2020. Since then, thousands of young people have joined the campaign.

Trash Hacks are small steps everyone can make to bring about bigger, lasting changes in waste reduction. The campaign aims to encourage young people to take action to promote sustainable development, reflect on their actions, and share their learnings. 

The campaign is based upon the insight that young people across the world are already taking steps to combat waste and consume less. Trash Hack provides them with a peer-to-peer learning opportunity online, to allow them to work across borders and take concrete actions for sustainable development.

In the News section you will find articles with tips from young leaders around the world to live in a more sustainable way.

Read Ivan’s guide from Ukraine to manage your digital waste, Olarip’s blog from Tanzania on mapping activities and “plogging”, and Christina’s tips on how to incorporate environmental awareness into schools through volunteering activities.

Furthermore, learn more on Mais’s advice from Syria on how to reduce plastic bottles consumption and Sarah’s explanation from Indonesia on how to make waste management at home.

Finally, discover the last article by all bloggers to start trash hacking your life and watch their inspirational video.

To support school communities and in particular teachers to engage their students in Trash Hacking, UNESCO’s Section of Education for Sustainable Development and the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) developed a practical guide: Trash Hack: Action Learning for Sustainable Development in English, French and Spanish. The guide was presented at a webinar in January and has been used by thousands of students and teachers around the world to Trash Hack their classrooms, schools and communities.

Schools involved in the campaign came together during a celebration webinar with inspiring examples by young guests from all over the world last month. This online event offered them the occasion to celebrate their Trash Hacks, share some good practice examples and encourage others to act. 

As part of the Campaign, ASPnet and the Foundation for Environmental Education partnered to make a global call for action and to invite all their members to engage in learning about trash, waste management and, more widely, sustainable development.

Furthermore, UNESCO took some Trash Hack ideas forward to the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, held in May.

During the first day, Pandhita Rajwa Waradhana, a 16-year-old student from Indonesia, emphasized the importance of education for changing unsustainable practices.  ‘The earth is crying for help from us humans […]. Bad behaviours have been going from generation to generation. […] We have to change and apply new lifestyles and education must take big roles in changing it.’  Watch her full speech and listen to the song created by the school for a better future for our planet.

UNESCO is implementing the Trash Hack campaign in each region of the world. Look out for the launch of the Trash Hack campaign with the IberoMAB youth leaders in Uruguay on World Environment Day 2021.

Learn more and take part:

This entry was posted in Citizenship, Climate change, Environment, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Trash Hack: young people rethink waste in their schools, homes and communities with UNESCO

  1. Pingback: Trash Hack: young people rethink waste in their schools, homes and communities with UNESCO — World Education Blog –

  2. Sustain blog says:

    Young people thinking about waste is a good sign. Thank you 😊


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