As much as it might sound like a speech that one of those creepy, smile-flashing, tracksuit-wearing guest speakers might have given at your school when you were a kid, it genuinely is cool to be seen cleaning up your town in Japan right now.

In a joint venture between Garbage Bag Artwork and Columbia Sportswear Japan, a range of artistically-designed garbage bags has been launched, along with a swanky new website that aims to encourage both local groups and handsome folks like you and me to get out and clean up our towns.

Suggesting that, “if the negative image of garbage can be removed, more people may be interested,” Garbage Bag Artwork hopes to usher in a whole new generation of eco-minded champions, but brings a heavy dose of cool with it.

When most people think of wandering about the park picking up litter, images of busted celebrities doing community service often spring to mind, so it is perhaps wise that Garbage Bag Artwork and Columbia Sports try and shake things up a little.

The idea behind the new bags is that, if we turn the rather unglamorous activity into a game of sorts, pitting people against one-another and showing plenty of pictures of handsome, sexy, fun people having a good time while cleaning up a little, others may follow suit. People are encouraged to pick up one of GBA’s new (free!) garbage bags and, while enjoying their nearest park or just strolling around town with someone pretty, pick up a little of the junk that’s been left behind by more thoughtless citizens.

The stylish garbage bags, which come in a variety of sizes and colours, and feature “earth” and “animal” designs, were announced at the end of last month and were selected by Columbia Sportswear as a part of their social responsibility plan.

While at first it may sound a little corny,  once you take a look at the bags themselves, we’re sure you’ll agree that GBA’s project has the potential to catch on.

Just take a look at some of these past and present designs!

▼Holy butt-holes, Batman!

▼Or if you prefer your bags a little cuter…

▼Classic eco models

▼And for the more serious picker-uppers out there…

As well as challenging people to change their attitude towards cleaning up and do it with style, GBA are also busy promoting ideas like “garbage pick-up point art projects”, where, by using the special bags, unpleasant sights like piles of trash waiting to be collected can actually become something pretty cool.

Imagine strolling past this kind of thing on garbage day…

The collaborate Sesame Street Oscar the grouch bag, launched by GBA just a couple of years ago, though, has to be my personal favourite…

The bags are now available to order free on GBA’s new website, which also includes a photo gallery of the best-looking “hiroists” (a combination of the Japanese word for “pick up” and the English suffix “-ist”), chosen for their pose, dress and overall sense of style.

Anyone who uses the stylish new bags is welcome to submit a photo of themselves doing their bit for the environment, but be warned-  you need to look good doing it to win the “Best Hiroist” award and get your photo up at the top of the page.

Turning your next date into a town clean-up might not sound like the most romantic of ideas at first, but with bags of this quality, and you all dressed up and looking fine, we’re sure you’ll be setting trends in no time.

Source: Excite Bit

Images: Ecolumbia and Garbage Bag Artwork