Plogging, a portmanteau of jogging and ‘plocka upp’ (Swedish for “pick up”), is as straightforward as it gets: picking up trash while you run. This fitness fad originated in Sweden when local joggers noticed trash on their running routes and wanted to take action. Plogging has now made its way around the world — from parts of Europe to the United States to a small but mighty group here in Canada — but no matter your location, plogging is an easy way to get some fresh air, burn some calories, and clean up your public spaces.
Why should I plog?
If you’re passionate about exercise and the environment, plogging may be for you. It’s simple: as you run, you collect any trash you see! Plogging not only reduces the amount of trash on our trails, beaches, and parks, but it has physiological benefits too. Being in nature helps improve heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels, and bending to pick up trash stretches the back, buttocks, calf and hamstring muscles. Plogging also makes running more interesting, as many find it a mentally stimulating challenge to see how much trash they can collect.
As for the environment, the impact might seem small but it does pack a punch. One group in Canada has plogged for the past 25 years, and over that time they removed 1.2 million kilograms of waste. And oftentimes ploggers run in areas with less people, so they collect trash that would otherwise go unnoticed. All this trash that ploggers collect would otherwise end up in waterways or oceans.
How do I plog?
All you need are a pair of high quality/disposable gloves and a bag. Any disposable bag will do, whether that’s an old shopping bag or a kitchen garbage bag. Plog for any amount of time you like, and pick up trash such as plastic bags, coffee cups, cigarette butts, straws, or beverage bottles.
For plogging groups and meetups, try going straight to the source: type “#plogging” into your social media feeds and see if you can find some local plogging groups. Alternatively, pitch the idea of plogging to your local run club!
Have you tried plogging before? Let us know your tips and tricks!