Are you plogging yet? Canadians are jumping on board a clean new trend

Melanie Knight in Vancouver has taken up a 30-day challenge to collect trash for 10 minutes

As the spring thaw lays bare the discarded waste of winter, many Canadian fitness enthusiasts are trying to spread the word about plogging, an eco-friendly exercise mashup that combines the endorphin rush of jogging with the environmental benefits of picking up trash.

Plogging is a portmanteau of jogging and the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” meaning pick up, and the premise is as simple as its name suggests.

Rather than racing past the rubbish strewn along their route, ploggers pick it up to be disposed of properly, and if they’re feeling ambitious, try to squeeze in a few exercises in between pieces of trash as they fill up their bags.

The Swedish-exported fitness craze has gained a small but zealous following in Canada as ploggers try to connect with one another by showing off their trash hauls on social media.

Melanie Knight in Vancouver has taken up a 30-day challenge to collect litter for 10 minutes every day, which she has documented on Instagram with the #10minutetidy hashtag.

She regularly posts selfies of her smiling brightly alongside some of the strange debris she has come across during her daily runs, including a leather belt, a children’s toy, and ironically, a dustpan.

Knight, 33, said she discovered the plogging phenomenon on social media, and as a marine biologist and longtime runner, the concept immediately appealed to both her environmental and athletic sensibilities.

“It just seemed like the perfect combination of kind of making a small change while doing something I’m already doing on a daily basis,” said Knight.

“These ocean issues that I face as I work every day as a marine biologist can be incredibly daunting, but feeling like there’s just 10 minutes of work to do … can make it fairly digestible and manageable to feel like you’re making a difference.”

Knight said she never fails to fill up the paper bag she totes as she runs along Vancouver’s seawall trying to picking up trash before it finds its way into the stomachs of marine animals.

She said it can be hard not to get dispirited by the seemingly Sisyphean task of cleaning up her normal route only to have the garbage reappear a few days later.

“It’s a little endless,” she said. “I could continue doing this forever. Everywhere I walk, I could be plogging, and that’s of course impossible.”

Daniel Fuller, a 32-year-old trainer from Stratford, Ont., said he launched the Plogging Canada Facebook group so Canadians could join in on the fitness movement that has been sweeping across the globe.

In a matter of weeks, the group has garnered around 300 members, and Fuller said he hopes that number will grow this spring as Canadians look for ways to get active in the great outdoors.

For those who dread the monotony of jogging, Fuller said plogging offers a more interactive cardio option that allows people to work different muscle groups as they bend, squat and lunge to pick up trash.

It can also be a group activity, he said, giving neighbours an opportunity to get to know each other while beautifying their community.

“Getting groups to come out, get a good workout in with me and clean up the community a little bit, might help other people just to come out and enjoy the fun,” he said. “It’s a win-win in my book.”

Heidi Sinclair, a 32-year-old day-home provider in Calgary, said she has a stable of little helpers in the form her two children and the tots she looks after as she tries to pick up litter in the city’s northwest end.

Sinclair said she’ll often turn it into a game for the youngsters, challenging them to race from one piece of trash to the next or search for items on a scavenger hunt.

She said plogging is a way to keep kids active while teaching them a valuable lesson about picking up after themselves.

“You need to set an example. It starts with our kids,” she said. “Getting fresh air, fitness and care for Mother Nature and their environment … I think it’s so important to teach your children these things.”

As she nears the finish line her for March challenge, Knight said she hopes fellow joggers join in on the plogging craze so they can work together to make a lasting dent in the litter that mars their community and puts their ocean life at risk.

“What I really would love to see is that this movement catches on and that everyone is doing it, and I think the more you see it, and the more you clean … there’s no way you’re going to put garbage back on the ground,” she said.

“If this picks up, maybe I’ll find other ploggers when I’m running and we’ll high five.”

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ladysmith scooter crash leaves local man with critical injuries

RCMP said a truck was making a left-hand turn when it collided with the scooter travelling through the intersection

Canada Summer Jobs funding creates 26 positions for Ladysmith youth

Youth employment in town is getting a boost from the federal government… Continue reading

UPDATED: Island Health warns of overdose spike in Cowichan over past 48 hours

A spike in overdoses in the Cowichan Valley has Island Health officials… Continue reading

Ladysmith printmakers hold inaugural show at gallery

Momentum Press to feature over 100 traditional and contemporary prints

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Winnipeg’s JP Hoe performs in Ladysmith

Six-time Western Canada Music Award nominee and Winnipeg native JP Hoe performed… Continue reading

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

B.C. bill aims to keep Indigenous kids in communities, out of care

Changes to Child, Family and Community Service Act could connect MCFD, Indigenous communities

Condo contract rules target B.C. property flippers

Regulations to prevent property transfer tax evasion

Most Read