I have been helping with volunteer litter cleanups since I was in my mid-20s, which was a long, long, long time ago.
One thing I have noticed over the years is that everyone has their own approach to picking up litter. So in the last year or so, as this new litter pick-up trend started taking hold in the media, I wasn’t blown away. But I will say that I am fascinated at this technique. You may have heard of it. It is called "plogging."
Leave it to those good old Scandinavians to add a new twist to cleaning up litter.
In 2016 there was the first reference to this term on social media, but I think many people have been doing this for years while out exercising. Plogging meshes two Swedish words for pick up and jogging, or running, to create "plogging."
The Swedes like their mashups and they have a knack for making things trendy with those mashups. There is even a Swedish article promoting plogging as a way to increase calorie burn while you are walking, jogging or running.
According to this article, plogging is almost a form of interval training that seems to add the benefits of doing squats to a running exercise routine – and of course, there is also the benefit of helping the environment by removing litter.
Now I do not know about the actual effects on calorie burn, but removing litter will help protect our environment and the wildlife and aquatic life and waterways hurt by the effects of litter.
Most people who plog say they started picking up the litter as they ran because it really bugged them to see the mess that unthinking citizens that litter create. So they started carrying small trash bags with them to gather up some of this mess.
I have friend in the Atlanta area whose father added pickup to his running routine years ago. He actually concentrates on aluminum cans and keeps track of the number of cans that he removes.
His son, Tom, did a Greenshortz video (available on YouTube or at www.Greenshortz.org) on his routine and his incredible number of cans that he recycles from his exercise routine. He has a very unique way of capturing those cans. The two-minute video is certainly worth watching.
I have also found out that there are exercise groups, like in Tennessee, that have plogging exercise events. So if you are interested, call us. We do have many people here in our community that incorporate litter pick up in their walking routines daily, and we also have Curtis Velasco.
Curtis is a faithful cleanup volunteer. He has put his own twist on litter pick up by riding his bike while he removes litter. All I can say is that Curtis must have incredible balance. I would not encourage this form of litter pick up unless you have incredible biking skills. Bike at your own risk.
My husband and I have a rather unique form of litter cleanup when we are in a hurry and want to cover an area as quickly as possible. We refer to it as "hit and run" litter cleanups. We resorted to this form of cleanup several years ago when I began having significant physical problems and was no longer able to walk extensively.
We hop in our vehicle with litter reachers and garbage bags (or five gallon buckets on windy days) and we pull over when we see litter and hop out, pick up the litter and hop back in and drive to the next litter spot.
As long as you keep safety in mind by are always aware of traffic, pulling off the road completely and making sure you have your emergency flashers on, this can be a very handy way to keep an area clean when it is not over run by litter.
So, whether you would like to plog or hit and run or you have circus bike skills, you can do litter cleanup your way – even the old-fashioned way of just getting a group of neighbors or family or friends together, grabbing some trash bags and making a morning of it enjoying nature and doing a little good for the world.
We appreciate what you do no matter which way you choose.
We are in the middle of the Great American Cleanup right now with millions of other resourceful citizens across the nation. So if you feel like joining us for a litter cleanup effort or would like to have one in your neighborhood, please contact us at Keep Liberty Beautiful. We have several groups holding cleanups on March 17.
If you would like to register your group for area that matters to you, all registered volunteers get Great American Cleanup t-shirts and green beads in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
We have several communitywide cleanups scheduled March 24 in the cities of Midway and Flemington, and also one in the east end of the county on Islands Highway. Registered volunteers for these events also get GAC t-shirts and a picnic lunch post cleanup.