How One Nonprofit Leveraged Sweden’s “Plogging” Craze

Picking up trash during a run is an exercise trend in Sweden that’s starting to gain a following in the United States. Keep America Beautiful, whose mission stands to benefit from the trend, has offered public support for the idea.

The latest exercise craze might just help clean up after the litterbugs of the world.

And strange as it sounds, plogging—the practice of picking up trash while jogging—is becoming a full-on trend. The term, which comes from Sweden, is a mix of jogging and the Swedish term “plocka upp,” or “picking up.” This unusual mixture of environmentalism and exercise, notes the Washington Post, is starting to become a hit among American joggers, too.

The trend is just the perfect thing for one of the country’s best-known environmental groups. Last month, Keep America Beautiful (KAB) announced that it would partner with the Swedish company Lifesum to add plogging to its health-tracker app, including totaling the number of calories burned during the activity.

With more than 25 million users worldwide, the app’s broad reach has the potential to further jumpstart the trend.

“As a company with Swedish origins, we’re really proud to see this Scandinavian craze gather momentum across the world,” Frida Harju-Westman, Lifesum’s in-house nutritionist, said in a news release.

In the same release, KAB Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Mike Rosen praised the phenomenon.

“Plogging is brilliant because it is simple and fun, while empowering everyone to help create cleaner, greener, and more beautiful communities,” Rosen said. “All you need is running gear and a bag for trash or recyclables, and you are not only improving your own health, but your local community, too.”

Rosen noted to the Post that the group’s support of the trend drew a surprising response from its affiliates, many of whom did similar things. That said, while the trend was fascinating and a positive for KAB’s mission, the group was realistic that it may not always be feasible for exercisers.

“If you turn your jog into a plog once a week or once a month, or turn your walk into a palk or your hike into pike, you’ll get personal satisfaction,” he told the newspaper.

It’s not every day a nonprofit has a relevant trend fall into its lap—or perhaps in this case, the better phrase might be “run in its general direction”—but when it does, it’s important to take advantage.

See trash on the trail? Pick it up, keep running, and throw it away. (Serge_Bertasius/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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