Plogging – Take Care of Your Fitness and the Environment

The natural environment requires special care. Meanwhile, pollution levels are at their highest ever, and the wave of garbage flooding us is also a problem. Is there a way to combine physical activity with environmental care? It turns out there is. Discover plogging, an unusual form of fitness straight from Sweden!

What is plogging?

The term ‘plogging’ was coined by combining two words – Swedish plocka, meaning ‘to gather’, and English jogging. For the first time, ‘plogging’ was used in the context of an event called ‘Plogga’, which was organised in Stockholm in 2016 [1]. Its participants combined trash collection with jogging, but this is not the only option.

If you want to clean up your neighbourhood of waste, you can do so by walking, biking or skateboarding, or choosing some other outdoor physical activity. This is because plogging is a term referring to the mere desire to combine activity with saving the environment, not to a specific sport. 

Garbage spoils the atmosphere – literally and figuratively

The initiator of the first event, as well as the entire movement, is Erik Ahlström. He is an activist who has been encouraging people around the world to save the environment for years. He and several others founded an association, which operates on a volunteer basis. 

As Ahlström notes, sporting events generate a lot of trash. This waste not only harms the environment, but also disrupts the unique atmosphere of such events:

“Studies have shown that if you go to a sporting event and the stands are full of trash, spectators will keep more distance from each other. However, if the stands are cleaned, interactions between people are better,” he explains [2].

Attention to ecology is already being paid by organisers of various sporting events, who are making some changes, such as ‘edible cups’ at marathons, fines for littering at sporting events, sports packages in linen bags, etc. [3]

Why go plogging?

There are many benefits that sports combined with garbage collection can provide:

  • Improved metabolism – when you go plogging, you burn more calories than during traditional running, because you do a lot more movements, such as squats. So you get great, energetic cardio.  
  • Socialising – plogging is a great way to meet new people and build relationships. There are many groups on social media organising joint plogging that you can join. 
  • Motivation for physical activity – the company of others and the noble goal of plogging give you more reason to get out of the house. This way you take care not only of your health, but also of the welfare of the planet.  
  • Saving the environment – every piece of trash collected is a benefit to the environment, and every plogging is a socially important mission!  


How to prepare for plogging?

Plogging is a form of activity for everyone, regardless of age or place of residence. However, good intentions and enthusiasm alone are not enough to practice ecosport. The right equipment will also come in handy, namely:

  • Gloves – will help you pick up trash and protect your hands. 
  • Sportswear – choose airy clothes made of breathable fabrics. Remember that they can get dirty while plogging. 
  • Shoes – should be comfortable and at the same time provide great stability. 
  • Lightweight backpack – pack trash bags and a water bottle in it. If you’re planning a longer activity, think about healthy snacks. 
  • Waste collection spike or grabber – will make it much easier for you to collect trash. 

Remember to sort the waste after the activity and put it in appropriate containers.

Plogging has taken over the world

The ecosport trend has become popular around the world. In 2019, Plogga made its debut at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden. Plogging has also become a new competition as part of the Antwerp Night Marathon [4]. In Poland, too, for several years now, plogging has been organised by schools, universities, companies, as well as individuals. It is hard to find an easier and more useful initiative! 

If you want to gain motivation and do sports not only for yourself, but also for the Earth, you can start at any time. Invite your friends and get to work! 



[1] What is Plogging?,, dostęp online: 20.02.2024.
[2] Interview with Erik Ahlström, creator of plogging,, dostęp online: 20.02.2024.

[3] [4] Kwiek Magdalena, Plogging – ekotrend w rekreacji w opinii studentów, Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis, Studia Geographica 18, 2022.