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From the 2021 Impact Awards

Redefining Trash TV

Winner in Conservation & Preservation

About this entry

It comes as a surprise to no one that our oceans are filling up with garbage at an accelerating pace. For most, it is a problem detached from their regular lives, so they see no clear way to make an impact. With Free the Ocean, our team aimed to align ocean health with something we are all familiar with - clicking.

Tune into Trash TV: The only channel that allows you to merge the unproductiveness of reality TV with something productive, cleaning the ocean.

The goal of Trash TV was to introduce people to the Free the Ocean brand and to illustrate how small lifestyle changes can make a huge impact on our planet and oceans - not just on Earth Day, but every day. Over a billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day every year, and we wanted to find an easy, fun way for people to get involved from home, especially given the pandemic. Making a difference and supporting the environment can be as easy as one click.

On Earth Day, we wanted to give everyone the opportunity to clean the ocean, right from their couch by watching Trash TV.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

On Earth Day 2021, Free The Ocean (FTO) invited everyone to watch Trash TV. That’s right, the brand that helps you ‘click to clean’ (the ocean) wanted you to sit back on your couch and get your daily dose of trash—just not the “reality TV” kind. 

The pitch was simple: play Free The Ocean’s simple one-click trivia to get access to the trashiest TV show of the year—a channel streaming the 8 million tons of plastic dumped in the ocean yearly. Just as your daily trivia click helped FTO fund the removal of plastic from the ocean and coastlines, viewing the show also triggered the removal of plastic.


So how did you unlock Trash TV?

1. Answer Free the Ocean’s daily trivia question 

One click = one piece of plastic removed. By simply answering daily trivia questions, people were able to fund the removal of plastic from the ocean. It can still be done - everyday and from anywhere.

2. Watch Trash TV

One view = one piece of plastic removed. By answering the daily trivia questions on Earth Day, people unlocked Trash TV, where each view also helped Free the Ocean fund the removal of plastic.


Advertising revenue generated on Free the Ocean goes directly to fund its impact partners, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The Ocean Cleanup. Both groups remove and transport plastic to recycling centers, and create innovative ways to repurpose plastic into new products, like sunglasses, soap dispensers and skateboard decks.


So, how much of an impact did this initiative have? On Earth Day alone, our partners were able to collect 59,528 pieces of plastic.

Just like reality TV, Trash TV caught peoples’ attention. Travel & Leisure, Cheddar TV and Adweek praised Free the Ocean and their mission to provide a safe and impactful solution to plastic removal on Earth Day. This campaign brought awareness to the Free the Ocean mission, and to-date over 20 million pieces of plastic have been removed from our oceans.


Video for Redefining Trash TV

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Small Girls PR, Free the Ocean