pick up trash litter plogging

Day 19: Plogging Pick Up Trash

One way to see an immediate result of your sustainability efforts is to go outside and pick up a piece of trash. Otherwise known as plogging, you’ll get immediate satisfaction from today’s challenge. 

What is plogging?

Plogging originated in Sweden. The name itself is a combination of the words ‘jogging’ and ‘plocka upp’ – which is Swedish for ‘to pick up,’ according to One Green Planet. The trend started in 2016, when runners began bringing a trash bag and gloves on their runs. When they saw trash, they’d quickly stop, pop it in their trash bags, and continue with their run. Plogging has taken off since 2016 and spread across the UK. 

Not much of a runner? Not to worry – plogging is not reserved only for joggers. The main idea is that you do some type of exercise as you pick up trash. That might be walking your dog, riding your bike, going for a stroll with friends, etc. The habit of picking up litter should then transfer to being the norm for you. As you’re walking home, to work, to the train – wherever you are, you’ll start to notice the litter around you more. Pick up what you can. 

How to get started

As you begin to truly see all the trash around you, you might be a bit overwhelmed. First, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Many ploggers choose to bring gloves along with them – we recommend reusable gloves, of course. Next, make sure you’re equipped with a trash bag of some sort. If you have excess shopping bags at home, this is an excellent way to give them a second life. You can also bring a reusable tote and plan to wash it when you’re done. Advanced ploggers use buckets and litter collectors – these are obviously not essential but are great options for a heavy-duty pickup.

A simple way to get started is to set aside five minutes, go outside, and pick up as much trash as you can within the timeframe. If you have a dog that needs to be walked, bring your plogging supplies. At a leisurely pace, you’ll be able to easily pick up litter you encounter on your way. Another option is to get a group of friends together and make a plan to pick up litter at a nearby park. Every bit helps.

As you pick up trash, take note of what trash you see the most. Is it plastic bags? Take away food containers? Plastic cups and straws? Picking up litter is not a permanent solution, but it is a tangible way to see results. Read our blog on ethical activewear and on petitions for additional steps you can take to make an impact on plastic pollution. 

Does it really help?

If you search the hashtag #plogging on Instagram, you’ll find over 158,000 posts. Imagine if every person in the UK practised plogging when going for a walk or run. The impact would be gigantic. If you’re up to it, encourage your friends and followers on social media by using the hashtag yourself and tag @aimplasticfree so we can share your positive action. You never know who you might inspire.

Mia Hadrill

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