Plogging: Good for You & Good for the Environment

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Every day you hear something on the news about the planet being in decay and you can’t help but feel distraught. Non-biodegradable plastic is filling up the oceans, streams, rivers, even ending up in your drinking water. While some governments, like the European parliament, are taking a stand and banning single-use plastics, you may feel compelled to take some action but maybe you are not sure where to start. How can one person make an impact? And, of course, there are issues of lack of time or money, with each of us having families to tend to, jobs to complete, paying attention to your own health and wellness, and the list goes on and on.

Finding a solution on how to contribute when daily life seems to get in the way makes the additional task of doing something for the environment seem daunting. Luckily there is a new workout trend, spreading across the globe like wildfire, which has brought an easy and time-efficient conclusion to combine running and helping to clean up the environment and it’s called plogging.

Plogging – What is it?

Originating from the Swedish term plocka upp, meaning pick up, has now transformed in English to create the new vocabulary word of plogging. Plogging, a word formed from the combination of jogging and plucking, is the environmentally-friendly act of jogging and picking up litter at the same time.

Dating back to 2016, several Swedish runners and enthusiastic conservationists launched the first official weekly plogging sessions to tackle the ever-growing problem of pollution. As they ran they collected the trash and at the conclusion of the run, they appropriately disposed of and/or recycled what had been gathered. The seemingly simple concept began to go viral, thanks to social media and has now found international success.

Not only are you doing something good for the environment but you are also getting a great full-body workout by running, squatting, reaching, stretching and more to pick up the trash, multiple times over and over during the length of the entire course. In essence, you are doing interval training along with working your core, glutes, and balance all while doing something good for the planet.

Are there any rules for plogging?

To be perfectly frank, there is no set of official rules for plogging. Appropriate equipment my help make the process of collecting trash while running to be easier and safer. This would include a pair of gloves and a trash bag. Being aware of proper disposal is a plus, but the frequency, duration, and types of trash collected are all up to you.

What are the benefits of plogging?

Aside from health and environmental benefits, plogging brings on additional advantages personally and socially.

Brings about Awareness:

With one ton of plastic pouring into our waters every single day, it’s certainly time to make a change. Poor decisions to litter produce masses of plastic in the oceans resulting in new waste formations with one in particular called the “Seventh Continent of Plastic” within the Pacific Ocean, which has been discovered by American explorer Charles Moore. The eco-friendly action of plogging not only cleans up the mess that is made on a local level but brings attention to the fact that something needs to be done. You may receive a few side glances when you pass by another individual with your trash bag in hand as you run by, but that simple task may make an impression for the next person to act.

Makes an Impact in your Community:

You will be surprised to find how much trash can be found just in your own neighboorhood. No litter is too small. Running by and grabbing from even the minuscule pieces of rubbish like twist ties, dental floss, and cigarette butts, to hand-filled size water bottles, fast food containers, to even larger items makes a huge difference. By doing your part and picking up after the laziness and disrespect of others, you can make a small glimmer of enlightenment and beauty for yourself and surrounding neighbors.

Creates a ‘Feel Good’ Mentality:

Although the idea of cleaning the planet one bottle at a time seems honestly overwhelming, in reality, no matter how small the action, you can feel good about doing your part. A kind act never hurt anyone and each small step, quite literally, can help you to feel empowered. While the sad truth is that the people on earth currently produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, participation in plogging can counter and reduce a small percentage of those plastics to end up in our seas.

Contributes to Positive Social Interaction:

What is better than exercising and doing something positive for the environment? Doing it with other like-minded individuals! Because plogging became popular through the avenues of social media, you can be sure to find several thousands of other ploggers like yourself on all social networks. Furthermore, you can actively participate in anyone of the plogging clubs that can be found all over the world.

Speaking with Instagram running influencer @runfit_nora who works with companies like AfterShokz, Saysky, and Amazfit, Nora Biever of Luxembourg plogs at least 2 times a month and tells us why plogging just makes sense.

“I think that mother nature deserves our respect and when I see trash lying around everywhere it makes me sad and to pick it up makes me feel happy. It sounds simple, but it helps,” states Nora. She hopes people grow to be more aware of the fact that nature is not a trash bin. She thinks that by integrating the small gestures of running and collecting debris on a regular basis will make the activity become more of a habit and by doing so it is possible to make a difference in the world.

She recommends making sure to bring a pair of gloves and then don’t hold back. “I go out every two weeks, more or less, and I am actually trying to reunite a little group in Luxembourg, so if anyone wants to join, all are welcome with arms wide open.” If you are in the Luxembourg area and interested in plogging, feel free to reach out to Nora on Instagram at @runfit_nora.

How can you get involved?

If you don’t necessarily live in Luxembourg, there are many other ways to get involved internationally. In Europe, you can contact the Plogga group out of originating Sweden, the Trail Runner Foundation out of France, or reach out to Plogging UK on twitter. In Kolar, India there is a non-profit group called Go Plog! that invites the public to engage in a monthly plogging event.

In the United States, you can find several states participating in plogging events through Keep America Beautiful organization, the application Meetup or through the free workout group November Project. Internationally, you can also download the Run Eco Team plogging application which has over 50,000 worldwide users.

In conclusion, making a small action one time a week or even a month can go a long way. Plogging is good for you and good for the environment.