Turn your jog into a plog

Turn your jog into a plog

Join KBVB with twist on litter pickup event

PAWTUCKET – Donna Kaehler, of Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful, admits that the idea of plogging may seem weird at first but the Swedish fitness craze that combines jogging with stopping to pick up litter is a great way to help beautify the community for everyone to enjoy.

KBVB, a Pawtucket-based affiliate of the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful that “inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment,” is hosting its first-ever plogging event this fall.

“Don’t let litter be the message we display in our communities,” Kaehler said. “Let us work together, volunteer, lift our spirits and unveil the clean, natural beauty of the Blackstone Valley.”

Ploggers can register by Oct. 1 and choose a route in the Blackstone Valley that’s at least one mile long to clean up by Oct. 12. Kaehler said she will track the adopted areas by community and is hoping participants will help clean at least 25 miles during the event.

“It’s a neat thing,” she said of the event. “We definitely want people to have fun in the Blackstone Valley.”

The word plogging is a combination of jogging and the Swedish phrase “plocka upp,” which means “pick up,” as in pick up litter. If jogging isn’t your speed, participants are welcome to walk. The point is to combine exercise with cleaning up debris and helping the environment. People can jog or walk individually or in small groups, Kaehler said. “Just have fun with it.”

After registering, ploggers will receive a free litter kit that includes a litter grabber, gloves, trash bags and a reusable bag. Folks will be responsible for disposing of the trash they collect, Kaehler noted. Separate clean recyclable items from trash and deposit them in your recycling bin.

Noting that organizers want the event to be safe, Kaehler said she feels more comfortable picking up litter with a picker or grabber.

There will be three prizes for people who submit photos of them participating to KBVB’s Facebook page, judged in the following categories: Most Trash Collected, Weirdest Item Found, and Most Fun While Saving the Earth. Each winner will receive a $25 gift card to Target donated by Target in Smithfield, Kaehler said.

Everyone who participates will be entered to win a FreeGarden Backyard Compost Bin to get started turning fruit and vegetable scraps into rich compost. “I love mine, it’s so easy,” Kaehler said of her compost bin.

The plogging trend started in Sweden around 2016 and has been growing in popularity around the world. According to Lifesum, a Swedish fitness app, 30 minutes of plogging burns 288 calories for the average person while jogging burns 235 calories.

If you want to up your exercise game, you could try pliking, a combination of biking and litter cleanup, which is a bit more complicated, according to Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, another affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. You can use a trash grabber so you don’t have to get off your bike.

One of Kaehler’s goals is to get as much litter off the ground before winter when the snow starts falling, she said, because once trash is covered by snow, it can travel into streams and rivers. “Love our Earth and be good to it, that’s our message,” she said.

This year they’re seeing a lot of litter, she said, guessing it might be because Earth Day cleanups were canceled, and people aren’t properly disposing of their masks and gloves. “We’re seeing more stuff out there.”

Kaehler said she’s been thinking a lot about what she can do to help during the pandemic and hopes other people will see this event as a way to give back. It’s also a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, she said. “A lot of people are outside anyway. If they adopt one run or one walk and do this, it feels good,” she said.

Register on Facebook or by calling 401-724-2200 or emailing keep@tourblackstone.com . For more information, visit www.keepblackstonevalleybeautiful.com .