Why You Should Do Plogging and Where to Start
We were collecting trash that other people threw away yesterday at the park. The next day, it didn't seem like we made any difference: Plastic bottles, cigarette butts, handkerchiefs, plastic packaging, and small packages of various candy brands covered the ground. And if that's not enough, you can find much more garbage in our cities, forests, and beaches. So why should we even care?
An African proverb says: "Many little people, in many little places doing many little things, can change the face of this world."
Many benefits come with picking up garbage outside and avoiding it inside your household - not only for the environment and its inhabitants but also for yourself. See who gets the advantages on this list:
- Our environment: Those who collect rubbish protect the environment and actively contribute to environmental protection. No preparation or organization is required for this activity.
- Our health: Picking up garbage means you are in the fresh air. Go for a walk, and do squats while picking up trash. In other words, it is a sporty activity because you are walking and therefore burning calories. A clean up keeps your body fit and promotes your health.
- Other people: In doing an activity, we also act as a role model. We encourage other people who see us doing the clean up to question their behavior. We passively address the "garbage disposers" and contribute to inspiring other people to collect garbage.
- Animals: Garbage poisons animals: turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, fish mistake plastic particles for plankton, and seabirds mistake plastic parts for natural food. Plastic waste is particularly dangerous because it clogs the digestive system and the animals starve to death on a full stomach. If animals get tangled in the garbage, they die in agony.
- The Ocean: Since plastic bags, plastic bottles, and plastic sheeting are exceptionally light, they are often washed into rivers by wind and rain. Garbage is carelessly disposed of in nature and ends up in the oceans and thus in sea inhabitants' food chain. By following simple steps on how to avoid plastic in our Oceans, you can have a huge impact on our eco-system.
- A better world: We collect other people's garbage and leave the beautiful places in nature clean, just as we would like to find them ourselves.
Start collecting waste
We're not trying to fix the world by ourselves, so we don't feel responsible for picking up everything. Our main reason for doing it is to develop the skills to lead others to do it. Our main effect isn't what we do with our hands but how many others we lead to it. Eventually, picking up litter will become a routine. We're leading that cultural change.
Rummage through your home and find a large jute bag. Suppose you don't have a jute bag or would like to collect rubbish while snorkeling and diving, buy a collection net for divers. While it is not that expensive, large nets that take up little space are light and can also be used underwater.
You then pack the jute bag or the net in your day or hiking backpack. So it is always with you when you are out and about in nature. And if you find garbage on the way, you will automatically think of your collection net in your backpack and take the trash with you.
Well, isn't that the most straightforward resolution you can ever have not only for the New Year but for next week? It starts with you now. Put a collection bag in your backpack, and voila!
Collecting rubbish is also possible wherever you walk, for example, on the country lane. If you want, you can take a small garbage bag with you for the next walk and thus dispose of the collected garbage correctly in the nearest garbage can or at home. Solid gloves provide self-protection here.
Athletes can also help out during their workouts in the fresh air: With "plogging", a subsidiary form of jogging has become established, in which you bend down after every piece of rubbish.
What is plogging?
No, we haven't made any jokes; it's called that. Plogging is a combination of different words. It is made up of the phrase "Plocka upp" and "Jogging". "Plocka upp" is a Swedish verb and means "to collect" or "to take with you". "Jogging" is the well-known English word for endurance running outside.
In a nutshell, plogging means: running - bending - picking up rubbish. And what is shocking about it? It's as simple as it is incredible! You're doing something good for the environment AND your fitness—the best of both worlds.
What do you need for plogging?
What you would generally need is running shoes, gloves, and a garbage bag. It's even better for the environment to use gloves that are washable afterward or a fishing net - mentioned above.
If you jog regularly, you probably already have decent running shoes. The gloves should be stable enough that you feel comfortable with them and are not afraid to touch other people's garbage. The garbage bag should be a size that doesn't hinder you when walking.
But there is also a simpler alternative: We have tried plogging and never use gloves. We don't use a garbage bag either. It is excellent to pick up trash and just put it in the nearest can. If one of the things we pick up happens to be a bag, we'll use it to collect other things.
The guidelines we find that help us: Without the right equipment or bare hands, we rarely pick up anything:
- Cigarette butt-sized or smaller
- Wet or in a puddle
- Too far from our path
Detrashed my sons bus stop with him this morning! He’s only 4, gotta teach em young to not be a litter bug! from r/DeTrashed
How does plogging work?
With or without gloves and garbage bags, you go jogging on the way. If you see rubbish lying where it doesn't belong, collect it. Jog, stand still, do a squat, and pick up trash. Plogging is, therefore, easily matchable with interval training.
"Yesterday, waiting for a walk sign, I picked up some litter. A guy thanked me and offered me candy. I declined the candy, but we talked for a while. You meet great people picking up garbage." - u/spodek
Why timing is important
Now you are all set up for your first or latest cleanup and strengthen the movement of reducing waste in nature. Before we show you benefitting tips for your outdoor adventure, there is still an important question to be answered: When should I clean up?
The answer is: It depends. Most of the time, the right time is connected to your free time. However, there are also other factors you should take in count:
- Find out when your local outdoor garbage cans are not filled up. If you're living in a city, there could be timezones, when your garbage cans are full and you should be aware of that. In case you don't have the option to take the picked up trash back home and put it in your private trash can, try to look out for times when the garbage men take the trash with them. Most of the times, this happens in the early morning.
- Cleaning up can be a leading example for a green movement. If you want to motivate others, not only choose crowded locations but also the right times where people go for a walk in the park or sit down in a restaurant in the city. But please be cautious: During our current pandemic, we don't want to encourage you to visit crowded places.
Useful advice to pick up your trash
Throughout the internet we've collected some neat tips for your cleanup journey. These tips are not only made for experienced ploggers but also total beginners and should help you by starting to act more eco-friendly and effective.
- Look out for a second-hand grabber: Grabbing sticks are great for the health of your back. If you have problems bending down or doing a squat, try to find a grabber preferably in a second-hand store. Otherwise stick a nail to a broom handle to peak up the trash and not hurt your back.
Cleaned up my local park, now give me my fake internet points!!! from r/DeTrashed
- Set up personal challenges: I try to be showy enough that people see and consider adopting the habit but not so much that I look like I'm trying to get their attention.
Picking up trash is a life changing hobby: This is easy and very rewarding. Nature is everywhere, yet unfortunately humans tend to clutter it with garbage, damaging the ecosystem to the detriment of all of us. It's a big problem, but we can all help.
Find a local area, beach, river, forest area, whatever, go there, and pick up some trash. Simply put a plastic grocery bag in your pocket before heading out and spend a nice couple hours in nature making it a healthier, happier place. Benefits: Spend time in nature, helping to conserve, preserve, and restore. (Don't forget to check out all the little life forms you are benefiting by helping to clean up their home)
Get a bit of exercise. Make the world a cleaner, better place. Who knows, maybe somebody will see you cleaning up and it will spark a train of thought that eventually leads to them helping to clean up too someday. Instead of waiting for other people to change, to stop littering, we can make a difference today. And it feels great doing it.
- More tips to avoid plastic: There is a great advantage if you not only pick up trash but also know how to avoid it. Therefore, we collected 20 tips to avoid more trash in the future.
Questions about picking up garbage
- Won't my city clean up the most trash?
While the city covers a lot of trash to clean up, there are still some spots left that are not always regarded. Places like parks or smaller areas are not prioritized here. That's what you can focus on; places that are not often visited by the city clean up service. Especially nature is endangered by the toxics of plastic and other waste.
- What if I don't have enough time?
Removing trash is not possible for everyone. Some people don't have the equipment, and some don't have enough time. After starting the journey to clean up waste, the motivation might fade over time. For us, it is essential to do things daily, even if it's reading one page of a book a day, and thus creating a habit.
With our very own journey, we try to create a waste-free society step by step. It all started by collecting cigarette buds on the beach. For our effort, our surf-camp leader rewarded us with an eco-friendly bracelet as a symbol of our actions.
With every bracelet of masaii you buy, you directly convert your purchase into help removing 50lbs of waste.
- Is plogging just a social media hype?
Critics see plogging as a lifestyle that is effective on social media rather than sustainable environmental protection. Collecting the rubbish that others safely throw on the street is not wrong, but it may be a sign in the wrong direction.
This does not solve the fundamental problem of waste generation. It would make much more sense if no waste, especially plastic packaging waste, is produced in the first place. This primarily addresses politics and industry. Of course, consumers also bear responsibility by buying less packaging, especially plastic packaging.
Nevertheless, even if plogging is only a small drop in the great sea of attempted solutions to protect the environment, every little step can raise awareness worldwide. This is another reason why it is essential to dispose of the rubbish collected during plogging properly.
In conclusion, picking up trash during your daily walk is a benefitting hobby for your health and the environment. We hope, all your questions about picking up trash are answered and wish you have a lot of fun during your outdoors adventures.
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