Plogging with Paul

Plogging with Paul

If you read the title of this blog, you’re probably thinking “what’s a plog?” or “I think I still have some of those in a box in the garage.” Both thoughts are valid, though your dust-collecting discs are called Pogs…so you may be in the wrong place if you’re wanting some tips on how to make some sweet eBay money off of them. 

Plogging is the activity of picking up trash while jogging! If you’re in-the-know on unique ways to have fun and help out the environment, then you definitely know about it. If you haven’t yet, get ready to learn more about your new favorite hobby. 

On our quest to get some plog-ucation, we got to talk to Paul Waye, a runner that placed second in the World Plogging Championship (yeah, it’s a thing!) and what we consider a Plogging Pioneer. Paul started picking up trash on a run to the train station in 2011 after noticing the litter had gotten a bit out of control. The word “plog” wasn’t even coined until 2016 - so he’s a plipster (plog hipster, coined just now). 

The well known phrase “every little bit helps' definitely comes into play when it comes to plogging. In one month alone Paul typically picks up 100kg of trash - that’s about 220lb for us Americans. This year he has tallied up his findings and estimates to pick up a total of about 35,000 and 40,000 liters of trash! By himself! Can we get a round of ap-Paul-se? 

The earth isn’t the only one benefiting from plogging. Paul credits the activity for enhancing his running experience, he says My runs are more dynamic with built in stretches! but more importantly, it keeps my easy runs.. easy. As runners we try to run toooo fast too much of the time. Plogging keeps my speed slower for the easy run days”.  

What we haven’t mentioned yet is that Paul is a real-life superhero. We’re not saying he’s Captain Planet, but we’ve never seen him and Captain Planet in the same room. Read this wild story about how Paul was able to lend a helping hand, in his own words: 

“I will give you something that isn't relating to trash! A couple of years ago I spotted a pillowcase in the bushes while plogging.

I nervously looked into the pillowcase (you do find some weird stuff!).. it was a security box that had been broken open. Inside it were photos, letters and memories.

So I carried it home (it was damn heavy! haha). It was clearly stolen and thrown out of a car after all the valuables were removed

When I got home I looked deeper and from some bank statements could figure out the owner. I called them up

It belonged to a 90+ year old woman who have been victim to a crime; two people pretended to be home help and while one distracted her, the other robbed her.

After the call I contacted the police and they brought it around to her (I thought a policeman would be less stressful than another stranger at the door - my wife actually spoke to her on the phone as I think my deep voice was also upsetting her).

I couldn't undo the crime and trauma, but my wife and I think that we did perhaps help restore a bit of faith for her in people.. as well as reuniting her with some precious memories that were still in that security box.

Yes, I pick up trash which I do to help us have a future, but sometimes you find something to help make a more immediate impact.”

Talk about an everlasting impact. If you’re interested in hearing more about Paul (we don’t blame you, he’s a cool guy), read our full Q & A with him here

We hope this could inspire you to grab a glove and pick up a couple of items on your next run. Be sure to spread the word with your community as well, you can be a plipster too! (It’s gonna catch on, just wait and see). Remember even 1 or 2 pieces of trash collected makes a difference, so start small and maybe one day you’ll be up to Paul’s level!