A guest blog by our dear friend Paul Waye (https://www.wayeoflife.com/).
This is about how one word can bring a worldwide community together to help tackle a world crisis.
So What Is Plogging?
Plogging is simply ‘picking up litter while out doing an activity’. Traditionally that is either running or jogging, but the term is often now used to describe any sort of outdoor activity.
The word came about in 2016 in Sweden, when the words of plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog) where combined to form ‘Plogga’. That soon evolved into ‘Plogging’ which is now recognized the world over.
So how did this bring a worldwide community together? Well, mainly because it acted as a label. A means to describe the activity.
Before that, people would use all different ways to describe what they were doing. People said things like “while I was out running I picked up some trash”. Now you can search Instagram using the hashtag #plogging and see thousands of posts.
The word has provided a common language to connect people the world over. A common goal.
Why Should You Plog?
Now that is a good question!
For everyone it can be a different answer. For some it is that they just don’t like seeing the huge amount of trash on the streets. For others it might be to raise awareness about single use products, plastic, cans. Or it might be simply that they want to become more responsible in caring for the planet. Whatever the reason, they plog to make an impact. They want to make a difference!
"But you can’t make a difference. There is too much trash!" Hmm.. let me rephrase that.. “You can’t solve the problem on you own” - That is true. I personally collect over 100kgs of trash each month, and each day fresh litter appears on the same routes.
"So what is the point then?" Well, although I cannot solve the problem I can try and help solve it with others. On my own I cannot solve the problem. But what if I can inspire others through my actions? The importance of plogging is not just about the piece of plastic you pick up.
If you talk about, if people see you doing it, if you post about it on social media, then you might inspire others to take action. Maybe they think twice about dropping a piece of litter or even start plogging themselves.
That is the ripple effect that plogging can help achieve. On my own my single piece of litter isn’t much, but if everyone did that each day? Well, then the impact is enough to solve the problem.
How Can I Start Plogging?
The best piece of advice I can give is to start small. Start with that single piece of litter. Pick it up and put it in the bin. Now think about how you feel? Feels good right? Hell yeah! You just made an impact! Woohoo!! Maybe you can do that single piece a couple of times a week?
You are now a plogger!
That is how I started. A single small piece. By it being small, it has no impact really and it remains fun! (With COVID-19 it is important to be careful – one tip is to use a clip, or a doggy bag – but avoid bare hands – I have some tips and tricks here.)
The best thing you can do is to share your experience! Post on social media, tell friends, and family.. wouldn’t it be cool if you inspire someone else to begin?
Just bear in mind, you are not doing it to brag. What you did is awesome, but the important thing to do is tell the story and hopefully inspire.
- You don’t need much equipment to start. Gloves and biodegradable bags are my must haves.
- You can do it either by yourself or with a few friends (with 1,5m distance ;))
- There are more and more Facebook groups and events organized around plogging each day.
Yes.. set a clear boundary.
Today I ran 26km as part of my marathon training. If I had plogged the whole time I would have impacted by training. So I set a clear boundary for when I am and when I am not plogging. I plogged during my warm up and once I hit a specific point, I took my glove off, stashed in my tights and focused on the run. I ignored all the other trash.
That boundary helps keep it fun and sustainable, and you can always remember any bad spots for the next time 😊