Plogging – for a healthier planet

Doing something for yourself, keeping the environment clean and looking good on Instagram – isn't that the description of the perfect workout? Like so many good things, plogging, a combination of running and picking up trash, comes from Scandinavia. The first events took place in Sweden around 2016, and that's where the name was invented. Plogging is made up of jogging and plucka upp, the Swedish word for "picking up" trash. Then in 2018, the idea went viral. All over the world, people put on their running shoes to pick up trash – either alone or in groups.

“In 2019, an estimated 2,000,000 went plogging daily.” – National CleanUp Day. [1]

But the history of litter-picking with a step counter goes back even further, of course. In 2014, the British newspaper The Guardian reported with an unmistakably mocking undertone about the writer David Sedaris, who walked up to 60,000 steps a day with his trash tongs and thus transformed his hometown into a veritable idyll of cleanliness. “You can tell where my territory ends and the rest of England begins,” he is quoted as saying in the Guardian. “It’s like going from the rose arbor in Sissinghurst to Fukushima after the tsunami.” The city council, the newspaper adds, thanked Sedaris by naming a garbage truck after him.

But the days when plogging was considered a rather eccentric leisure activity are long gone. In view of the increasing pollution caused by plastic waste, more and more people are looking for ways to actively contribute to keeping the environment clean. That’s why on Instagram, under the hashtag #plogging you can find photos of cool, dedicated people from all over the world – from Korea to Holland, from Sweden to Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. Many of the pictures also show how little equipment you need for plogging: a collection bag and a pair of trash tongs or gloves is enough.