Are You Ready for Plogging?

Sweden’s latest fitness craze is plogging and it becoming popular in the United States. The term is a mash-up of jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning pick up. In this case, litter.

Founded by Erik Ahlström, the Stockholm-based group Plogga aims to turn runners as a force for the environment. Ploggers run while wearing gloves for handling garbage and carry large trash bags, and stop to pick up any litter along their route. Once the bag is full, it’s placed in a receptacle.

Eric Ahlström, founder of Plogga, out plogging.

Plogging not only helps the environment, it’s quite good for your health. It’s like doing squats while you jog. Only when you squat you are helping to clean-up the environment.

The Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum has made it possible to track plogging activity, a half-hour of jogging plus picking up trash will burn 288 calories for the average person, compared with the 235 burned by jogging alone. A brisk walk will expend about 120.

The environmental organization Keep America Beautiful recently started promoting plogging as a way to encourage trash-free communities. Spokesman Mike Rosen said when the group put out the #plogging message to its 600 affiliates, it got a surprising response.

“People started saying ‘we do things like this already,'” Rosen said. “In Tennessee they do an event called ‘Trashercize’ that combines exercising with cleaning up community.”

But he said for those people who love to jog, going for a plog in its place might not be realistic every time.

“I don’t think plogging replaces jogging as a daily activity,” Rosen said. “If you turn your jog into a plog once a week or once a month, or turn your walk into a palk or your hike into pike, you’ll get personal satisfaction. You’ll have an endorphin high from running, and you’ll know you’re helping your community.”

Here are some tips from Keep America Beautiful:

Ready to get plogging? Consider this:

  • You’re simultaneously keeping yourself, your community and the environment healthy!
  • Thanks to Keep America Beautiful grant programs, many public parks and running trails have convenient trash and recycling bins – find one along your run or dispose of your plogging “treasures” when you get home. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find real treasure!
  • Gather a group of fitness-minded friends and turn plogging into your own Great American Cleanup event.
  • Exercising is a natural euphoria, so couple that with the amazing feeling you get knowing you’re giving back to your community and you’ll have the ultimate “runner’s high!”
  • Plogging combines cardio and strength in your workout with every squat you take picking up litter to be thrown away or recycled. According to Lifesum, in 30 minutes of plogging a typical user will burn 288 calories.
  • Based on where you live, you may be able to return any bottles, cans and other recyclables in for cash…and become a profitable plogger!
  • Meeting people and socializing is inevitable once you hit the plogging trail – plus it makes for cool social posts #DoBeautifulThings #plogging
  • Plogging is perfect for introverts who might not love the crowds of a community-wide volunteer event, but still want to lend a hand while moving their legs and feet!
  • Tag photos of your plogging cleanup efforts using the hashtags #plogging and #DoBeautifulThings to encourage this growing community of eco-aware runners!
  • Find a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate to help get connected to others who share your love for community and the environment.


Mary Hirsch