Plogging is the latest fitness trend which combines jogging (or running) with cleaning up the environment. The term derives from the Swedish words plocka upp and jogga which literally translates to pickup jogging. The idea is simple- take a bag and gloves on your next run and pick up any rubbish you spot on route.
We’re all aware of the effect that rubbish, particularly plastic is having on our environment. The vast majority of waste doesn’t get reused or recycled- we live in an age where were plastic products are easy to buy and easy to throw away. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the sea each year and 80% of this comes from inland sources including our canals and rivers. Besides being detrimental to the health of wildlife, polluted waterways look really unpleasant.
I recently joined Brita and West London Ploggers to clean up a section of the Grand Union Canal in London. As I expected of a waterway in a densely populated urban area the canal was rife with litter. It was disturbing to see that birds had even created a nest from floating plastic waste at the side of the river.
We got to work filling up our bags with all kinds of litter, mostly plastic but also paper, glass and cans. There was so much litter to collect, that we didn’t do much running! After only half a mile our bags were full and we deposited them in the recycling bins outside a nearby supermarket.
The canalside was busy with people on their evening commute, most of which were thankful for plogging efforts. We are all responsible for the environment, so picking up a few pieces of litter is a proactive way to solve the problem. As runners, cyclists and walkers we are often outside so it seems like a no-brainer to combine fitness with caring for the environment.
Besides plogging (and not littering in the first place), I’m trying to be conscious of the plastic I buy and throw away. Here are some ideas for reducing your plastic use:
- Buy a resuable water bottle- the BRITA Fill&Go Active turns tap water into great-tasting filtered water
- Invest in a Soda Stream machine if you prefer fizzy drinks
- Try a reusable coffee cup
- Bring a reusable carrier bag for shopping
- Avoid excessive food packaging- choose loose fruit and vegetables where possible
- Say no to plastic straws
- Use toiletries such as shampoo and soap which come in solid-bar form
- Look for paper-based packaging rather than plastic
If you are in London, check out West London Ploggers regular plogging sessions along the canal.
Have you tried plogging? What are your tips for reducing plastic waste?