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

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read