The plogging revolution

Learn about plogging, a popular activity that is centered around the preservation of nature

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Plastic lids collected while plogging
Lids and caps collected while plogging - Photo by Plogging RRevolution

In the last couple of years, we have witnessed a growth in residual waste accumulating in nature, from plastic tides in the sea to dumping sites in the woods. Reversing this tendency is not easy, yet it is necessary and, luckily, it is possible. The implementation of actions to preserve the planet is more and more integrated by various sectors, among them being sport. This push makes it possible to see innovative initiatives, like plogging, which allow us to do sport in the outdoors while taking care of the environment. Such an action also inspires others as it shows how taking care of the planet is our responsibility. 

What is plogging?

Plogging is an activity that combines sport in the outdoors while gathering trash. In other words, it is made up of taking advantage of any outdoor activity, whether in the middle of nature or in an urban setting,  to pick up waste that may be found along the way

The word plogging joins the Swedish word “plocka upp,” which means to pick up, with the word “jogging,” which comes from the English word to go running. While its start was originally associated with running, plogging can also be practiced while hiking, mountain biking and scuba diving and any other type of sport you can imagine.

How is it done?

To practice plogging, apart from the equipment and necessary materials to carry out the sport you intend on practicing, we recommend bringing a pair of gloves for safety and trash bags. The gloves will provide greater safety and hygiene, protecting your hands in case you come across any sharp objects, like broken glass. On the other hand, the trash bags will allow you to place the litter you find along the path to properly recycle it later. If you go in a group, each type of waste can be categorized and assigned to each person so that glass, plastic, paper, batteries and non-recyclable waste go to one specific person.    

While enjoying any kind of water sport like swimming, kayaking-canoeing or paddle surf, we recommend bringing a handy net to let the water pass through it and keep the trash gathered in it. Moreover, the net would also make sure that no animals get accidentally trapped had you brought a normal trash bag. 

The benefits of plogging

While you are going along your plogging routes, you are directly helping out nature. By picking up litter, you are reducing the contamination around you. With every step, no matter how small it may be, you are doing your part to preserve nature which will pitch in with the thousands of steps taken across the globe with the same objective. If we all take advantage of our outdoor trails to pick up trash along the way, we will make a significant change in our environment’s state in very little time. 

Plogging also offers physical benefits. The action of bending down to pick up an object and straightening up again is a great way to strengthen your glutes and legs. With this in mind, you can add all types of physical exercise during the outing so that the athletic part of the experience is even more complete.

Physical training routines during a session of plogging
Exercises during a plogging outing – Photo by Plogging RRevolution

Everyone can adapt the exercises and the routes according to their physical abilities which makes plogging apt for any profile, age and physical shape.

The early beginnings of plogging

Plogging was born in Sweden in 2016. The Swedish athlete Erik Ahlström was the main promoter behind this initiative as a new way to practice sport after coming across litter day after day while training in Stockholm. As the organizer of these kinds of events outdoors and sharing this effort on social networks, plogging quickly went viral all over the world. Ahlström’s feeling of well being and doing the right thing went from an individual level to a global movement.

The plogging boom

Today, the global plogging movement brings together thousands of people and it has become unstoppable. It is noteworthy to add that there are more and more organizations, groups and individuals that have discovered plogging as a way to add value to their trails, daily training or even get togethers. Some of the greater pleasures it may give is a chance to start doing physical activity outdoors, become part of a community dedicated to the environment, keep the spirit of initiative alive and make a change towards something sustainable.

Plogging makes it possible to combine a passion for sport with a deep respect for nature.

The start of a new era

Currently, the conservation of biodiversity, the implementation of renewable energy or the changes in consumer habits towards sustainability are all very real topics in today’s society, which is more and more aware and responsible. Today’s context is conducive to the introduction of new initiatives, like plogging, which is now an available activity on Wikiloc, and one in which the upcoming generations will play a crucial role.

Plogging is more than just a movement, it is also the value of responsibility towards the conservation of nature. What are you waiting for? Now is the best time to give plogging a go!

Ploggers collecting trash from a beach during a plogging session
Ploggers in action – Photo by Plogging RRevolution