See this article on plogging, from the Washington Post Swedish Fitness Craze Coming to the US (March 06, 2018):

Have you recently spotted people toting trash bags while jogging? Or their hands filled with old plastic bottles? You might soon.

Sweden’s latest fitness craze — plogging — is making its way to U.S. shores. The term is a mash-up of jogging and the Swedish “plocka upp,” meaning pick up. In this case, litter.

Further on in the article, it says:

Think squats while jogging.

Several times a year, I walk and pick up trash, using a grabber which means I don't squat much and don't have to touch the stuff I pick up. I am trying to envision what, exactly, I would do if I were jogging instead of walking.

Let's dispose of the safety concerns. Assume a straight road with little traffic, wide shoulders and wide verges (the unpaved strip adjacent to the shoulders), and no poison ivy in the verges, none of which apply to my road. I have to be on full alert while .... plalking (?).

Does one squat and pick up on the fly, without slowing down? That seems difficult. Does one jog one way and concentrate on picking up on the return trip?

How does one avoid getting imbalanced after picking up a lot of stuff, or does one carry two bags, one in each hand? A U.S. plogger who plogs along the Alexandria, VA waterfront says:

There are an alarming number of full diapers...They turn my stomach the most.

Has some enterprising company marketed a wide-apertured plogging bag that one carries on one's back?

Here is a new outdoor sport, with great benefits to the individual practicing it and to the great outdoors. What is the most efficient and effective way to plog?

Addendum in response to a comment: People pick up other people's litter on hiking trails, in the backcountry, and on beaches too, and good for them, but this question is about the mechanics of doing this while jogging, as opposed to walking.

  • I've seen a few people do this, and squats doesn't drive the movement
    – Chris H
    Mar 8, 2018 at 8:08

2 Answers 2


I suggest the first step is to go for the light, grabbable stuff - plastic bottles for example. The contents, if any, can be poured onto the ground. This assumes your roadside example, which is likely to be so polluted that pouring out a bit of sugary water (or even urine, found in bottles by the side of the road surprisingly often) will be environmentally OK. You may not want to do this on a trail.

In fact if you specialise, you can recycle easily - plastic bottles in one trip, cans the next, etc.

Something big enough to pick up easily with one hand, on clear ground, can be grabbed without breaking step though it will take some practice. I could not find a video, but Rugby Coach Weekly describes the technique, which I remember from my school days. My understanding of plogging is that the goal isn't to get every last scrap, but to make a difference.

Wear gloves, waterproof and tough.

Pictures I've seen do show people jogging with two bags, which would improve the balance but make picking things up harder. I suggest one bag, changing hands occasionally.

With an out and back route or a regular loop run in alternating directions you can run out quite fast and empty handed, and come back more slowly. You may even make a mental note of bad patches to stop and do properly.

  • I can't find a video but the rugby technique is described here
    – Chris H
    Mar 8, 2018 at 10:18

The most efficient way to run and pick up trash would probably be to know where the garbage cans along the route are so you can carry the trash for as little time as possible.

At least according to this Fitness.SE answer , its not a good idea to run with hand weights, since there is little physical gain and danger of hurting your joints.

If you were optimizing for most trash picked up, you would want to slow down and walk and look carefully, using a picker and a pail or maybe a shovel cause humans can be rather disgusting.

From lots of experience of cleaning up trash, speed and thoroughness don't happen at the same time.

  • Its probably going to be a compromise of both.
    – Communisty
    Mar 8, 2018 at 15:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.