Plogging: doing your bit for the planet while running

Plogging: Lauftraining kombiniert mit Umweltschutz

Plogging? What sounds like IT jargon is actually the latest running trend from Sweden: jog, bend down and pick up litter. At a time when we're forever reading about ocean debris and plastic pollution, this eco-friendly interval training is attracting great interest.

What is plogging?

People who like jogging are happiest doing it outdoors. And outdoor lovers want to find their natural surroundings as clean as possible. Unfortunately, the reality is often different – which is precisely the problem that Erik Ahlström, the Swede who invented plogging, has addressed. A combination of the Swedish word «plocka» (to pick up) and «jogging», plogging combines doing something pleasant with something useful. Or rather, doing sport and something for the environment at the same time.

Costs for waste disposal are climbing every year

Even though there is comparatively little litter lying around in Switzerland, most people find it annoying when others carelessly drop and leave litter in public spaces without using the bins provided. Littering not only harms the environment, but also incurs high costs. According to the Federal Office for the Environment, cleaning expenses in Switzerland amount to approximately CHF 200 million per year. On top of this are the funds spent on prevention and education.

Littering is getting worse

There are many causes of littering. Our social activities, but also our consumer behaviours, have increasingly shifted outdoors. Lunch in the park, having a drink with friends by the lake, and free newspapers left on the tram all contribute to littering. The main cause, however, lies in human behaviour – all the more reason to raise public awareness about the negative consequences of littering.

Grab a rubbish bag and off you go

Although plogging doesn't solve the littering problem, it's a fun way to raise awareness about environmental protection. In Sweden, more than 80 events took place over the last year. Meanwhile, running groups are forming across the world under the hashtag #plogging. The phenomenon has also started spreading from Germany into Switzerland, with the first plogging event taking place in Zurich in 2018. Fortunately, if you don't want to wait for such an event, you don't have to – anyone can plog. All you need are jogging shoes, an empty rubbish bag, gloves and a large bin.

Winners all round

By the way, plogging doesn’t only benefit the environment. Bending down to pick up cans, plastic and other rubbish exercises the torso muscles at the same time. These aren't usually used while jogging. And ploggers who record their running distance and enter it into the CSS active365 rewards app will be awarded activePoints to redeem in cash.

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