Plogging on Trails – Tips for a Clean Trail
Running and picking up trash at the same time, this trend spilled over from Sweden to us under the name “plogging” in 2016. Plogging is a portmanteau word formed from the Swedish word plocka (“to pick up, to pick”) and the familiar jogging. Of course, the topics of environmental protection, waste reduction and running have been a topic of discussion among nature lovers and outdoor sports enthusiasts for quite some time. Here on the blog, for example, plogging as CleanYourTrails has been a topic and central feature since 2013.
But plogging isn’t just for runners, whether you’re a walker or a hiker, everyone is welcome to participate in cleaning up our forests and parks. How fast you move doesn’t matter.
Plogging – you can do it too!
Plogging is easy because anyone can join in. All you need is some time, a trash bag or your trail running backpack. The CleanYourTrails I use means “love your trail like yourself” because we all want to enjoy the outdoors for as long as possible. A clean forest or mid-mountain trail is something glorious. It gives us strength for the stressful everyday life. Actually, this should be self-evident, but unfortunately does not seem to have arrived in all minds yet. This is more than a pity, because our native forests and low mountain ranges deserve that we keep them clean.
Bisher durch die „Cleaner of The Trails“ gesammelter Müll!
Durch Pfandflaschen und Pfanddosen gesammelter Betrag
How can I join CleanYourTrails?
No one is asking you to sacrifice all of your free time or training just because there are a few idiots dumping their trash in nature. Since you’re probably out on your trails regularly, picking up one, two or three pieces of trash from the trail at regular intervals will go a long way. Small livestock also makes crap! This way, your trail will get cleaner every time and you’ll be doing something good.
Show yourself and a commitment, don’t be afraid to put it out into the world. Even if you might take it for granted, other people probably need to be pushed on it first. Whether you incorporate CleanYourTrails into your regular workout, grab a trash bag on your dog walk, or use your Sunday walk to do it, every piece of trash you pick up is important!
Of course, I didn’t invent the principle either, as shown by the actions of some outdoor bloggers that came about independently of #CleanYourTrails. As mentioned before, in the trail, hiking and outdoor sector, environmental protection has long been part of the movement. It’s also not about who had this idea first, it’s solely about nature lovers from every sport doing something for the environment.
That’s how long garbage takes to rot in nature!
Frequently Asked Questions – F.A.Q.
When and where was plogging invented?
Plogging spilled over from Sweden to Germany in 2016 as a trend sport. Among outdoor athletes and bloggers, however, litter picking has always been widespread, because if you’re out and about in nature a lot, you’re also keen to protect it. Here on the blog, it has been part of CleanYourTrails from the very beginning.
Why collect garbage?
Environmental protection starts with small things. If you’re like me and regularly walk your local trail, you’ll care about preserving its beauty. It’s a good feeling to do your part and bring joy to guests, walkers and tourists.
But the garbage in nature does not only look unsightly, it may also get into the stomachs of wild animals and here not infrequently leads to their death.
How does plogging work, how should I collect the garbage?
Protect yourself and your health! The first rule should always be “self-protection always comes first!” So, if possible, take rubber gloves, running gloves or gardening gloves with you if you intend to collect trash. If need be, leave anything that is “disgusting”, no one is asking you to reach into anything unprotected. Be careful with glass and tin cans, etc.
Sure, you can also pack the stuff in the pockets of the backpack or running pants. But honestly, how disgusting is that please? Either the stuff is full of vomit or muddy, you do not want to wear the whole run on the body. So if you’re regularly backpacking anyway, pack a trash bag or two. Better safe than sorry.
What can you do about trash in nature?
Small items, such as packaging film, beverage cans or small pieces of plastic, can usually be taken home and disposed of yourself. For larger amounts of household waste, construction waste, electrical appliances or even paints and varnishes, the app “Müllweg! DE” has already helped me regularly and reliably. With this free app, you can report litter easily via smartphone and on the go.
Is plogging healthy?
It is generally known that endurance sports such as running or walking are good for the cardiovascular system, so plogging is also healthy. The movement during plogging stimulates the blood circulation and challenges the condition. Of course, as a beginner, you should be careful not to overdo it with good will and take a rest. By constantly bending over and picking up trash, you’re also setting different training stimuli than if you just go for a run. It is always healthy for your mental health to know that you are doing something for your environment.
My practical tips – How to make plogging fun
Say goodbye to best times!
A typical CleanYourTrails run will usually be a GA1 at most, but more likely a recom run. But with intervals. Constantly stopping, bending down, picking up trash and starting again can still be quite exhausting. In Strava, the run will look as if you have made yourself a lukewarm. Don’t worry about it, at least you did something good. For you and for the environment.
Don’t forget your training!
Although you could probably unfortunately collect enough trash on each of your runs, leave it and leave some too. CleanYourTrails is just a side show in your running training. Indulge in your regular workouts and do it without a guilty conscience. The others have to have that and not you!
Protect yourself and your health!
The first rule should always be “self-protection always comes first!” So if possible, take rubber gloves, running gloves or gardening gloves with you if you intend to collect trash. If need be, leave anything that is “disgusting”, no one is asking you to reach into anything unprotected. Be careful with glass and tin cans etc.!
Don’t eat that yellow snow – or handkerchiefs are not only needed for the nose!
If you see handkerchiefs directly on the way, then they will probably have fallen out of the bag and contain snot at most. But if they lie one or two meters next to the path, then well … I wouldn’t pick them up, if I’m honest.
Little things also make crap!
Especially the small, glittering plastic or aluminum foil snippets are dangerous. In the forest there are lots of curious little animals that love to collect small treasures. Look also for small snippets, you will be surprised what comes together after your round there.
Take a bag for the garbage!
Sure, you can also pack the stuff in the pockets of the backpack or running pants. But honestly, how disgusting is that please? Either the stuff is full of vomit or muddy, you do not want to wear the whole run on the body.
Collect quite offensively the garbage in the forest or wherever. Take your time until hikers pass by when you hear them chattering. Let them see what you are doing! Talk to them if you walk behind them and find a fresh candy bar wrapper! Post your haul on social media, using the hashtag #cleanyourtrails.
CleanYourTrails protects against falls!
It’s hard to believe, but by permanently scanning the ground in front of you for trash, you definitely see more roots and stones that you could trip over. So #cleanyourtrails is perfect for klutzes and trail novices :)
With the Müllweg! DE app you can report garbage locations to the responsible office in the area. So the app is great for reporting really big trash like refrigerators, car tires, and other messes.
Perhaps there are also environmental initiatives in your area, such as Dreck weg, Koblenz! Who meet regularly to work together to make the city park, a country lane, or nature in general a little cleaner.
This doesn’t exist in your area? What’s stopping you from teaming up with some friends or other parents from kindergarten or school to collect trash regularly?