Plogging Through August Winners

How To Play

Each week the challenge email will encourage you to participate in an activity associated with the educational theme/resource that was shared. The weekly activities will be also be posted on this site as they become available. Follow the instructions below on how to submit a photo of your completed activity and associated comment in the All Participants challenge chat room for a chance to win $25 PulseCash*.

How To Submit

Utilizing the All Participants chat room feature within the team challenge page, post a photo and associated comment of you completing the activities below for your chance to win. To find the chat room, select the Resources tab on the top right and then click the ‘Open’ button under All Participants.

Photos and comments must be submitted by 11:59 PM on Sundays to be included in the weekly contest. Only photos and comments submitted within the All Participants challenge chat room are eligible for the drawing. Each participant is only allowed one entry per activity each week. Four winners will be drawn and notified each week of the challenge.

Week 1 Activity & Winners

Plogging is the simple act of picking up litter while you run, hike, or walk in your community. As a workout, it provides variation in body movements by adding bending, squatting, and stretching to the main action of running, hiking, or walking. It started in Sweden around 2016 when Erik Ahlström realized that many folks regularly pass by litter during their cardio workouts. With some encouragement, he felt like those same people could be put into action to make the area in which they were already exercising litter-free. In Swedish, the activity goes by plogga, which is a merging of the verbs plocka upp (pick up) and jogga (jog). Plogging started spreading to other countries around the world in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. View any of these brief videos to learn more.

We don’t have to belabor the point about why keeping our communities free of litter is important. Every bit of litter picked up and properly disposed of makes a difference. Not only will it improve the look of your environmental surroundings, but it can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health. It feels good to enjoy fresh air and sunshine, in addition to the benefit of getting extra steps, while contributing to a larger cause.

Before you get started, be sure to take note of the suggested safety guidelines. In general, use common sense (don’t pick up sharp or hazardous materials), dress properly (use gloves and wear bright colors when working near a road), and don’t overstuff bags with more than you can safely carry back to your starting point.

Your task this week…

…is to review the videos and safety guidelines linked above before your first plogging adventure. To be included in the drawing: 1) submit a photo of you safely picking up litter, and 2) include a comment about why picking up litter is important to you.


“Using a stick to pick up this towel. Picking up litter makes the environment more pleasant for everyone to enjoy!!”

Lisa Abrams

(Good Plogging to you)

“Picking up trash that isn’t sharp. Trying to keep our school campus clean!”

Christina Coe

(Go buckeyes)

“Utilizing dog walks to help keep our paths clean. Not only great to enjoy a better view, but also better for the environment.”

Amy Gratz


“This much trash picked up in 20 minutes! It’s so sad!”

Sandra Weber

(Vet Med Pet Lovers)

Week 2 Activity & Winners

The great (and sad) thing about plogging is that you can do it anywhere. Unfortunately, litter can find its way to just about every corner of the environment. If you’re looking for an easy place to start, walk around your neighborhood or workplace and see how much trash you find during your activities of daily living – while walking the dog or out getting lunch on your break. Another place to consider is any shopping area that you frequent while running errands. You really don’t have to go out of your way to find an opportunity to pick up litter, just look to see what you can throw away while going about your day.

For folks located on campus, consider joining a Plog With A Health Coach event in the next two weeks:

  • On August 11, you can plog with health coach Michael at 12:00pm around the Ackerman Complex | learn more & register
  • On August 17, you can plog with health coaches Bonnie and Adam at 12:00pm around the Ackerman Complex | learn more & register
  • On August 18, you can plog with health coach Michael at 12:00pm around the Oval | learn more & register

For folks that want to get out and explore – and also keep our local greenspaces looking beautiful – consider plogging in a park!

  • Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks features 19 outstanding natural area parks with more than 230 miles of trails and over 27,700 acres of land in seven Central Ohio counties. Help keep them clean & pristine!
  • With more than 5,000 miles of trails, from biking, hiking, running, walking, water trails, and equestrian, the state of Ohio has numerous opportunities to get out and explore. Pitch in to keep them in great shape!

Your task this week…

…is to plog somewhere new. To be included in the drawing: 1) submit a photo of the new place you plogged, and 2) include a comment about why you decided to select that place for cleaning up litter.


“I decided to plog near a field because it was peaceful and a nice day!”

Christina Coe

(Go buckeyes)

“I don’t typically plog in parking lots, but someone needs to pick it up. Better yet if it can be recycled instead of trashed!”

Amy Gratz


“Keeping Alum Creek clean. Have fun responsibly.”

Steven Gratz

(rad hikers)

“Decided to plog near a local playground I have driven by but never walked around. I see trash on the ground when I drive by so I thought it would be a great place to plog to! Now the park is cleaned up after recruiting some friends to help me plog!”

Abigail Pryor

(PLOG monsters)

Week 3 Activity & Winners

Keep America Beautiful® has been working for nearly 70 years to clean and beautify public spaces for the benefit of humanity and believes in the shared American responsibility to build and maintain clean, green, and beautiful spaces. A key component of their work is conducting research on litter and littering to inform innovative solutions that can be implemented across the United States. Their 2020 National Litter Study builds on previous studies completed in 1969 and 2009. Here are some of their findings:

  • ~50 billion pieces of litter are along roadways and waterways (this equates to 152 pieces of litter for every U.S. resident)
  • 87.9% of litter was 4” or smaller in size
  • Litter made from plastic comprises 38.6% of all litter across roadways and waterways combined
  • Cigarette butts are the single most littered itemed in the U.S. followed by general use plastic films and food-packaging films
  • Litter has decreased since 2009 in certain product categories, especially cigarette butts, but increased in others categories like sports drink, water and beer containers
  • 207.1 million PPE items (gloves and masks) were littered along roadways and waterways during 2020

In addition to litter that is intentionally discarded by an inconsiderate person, also think about all of the ways that litter can unintentionally make its way into our environment. Overloaded curbside containers can get scavenged by animals or blown over by wind. When the contents inside aren’t bagged, they can make their way all over the neighborhood. This can also happen during pick up when loose material can fall or fly out during collection. Public area recycling and refuse containers may also have design flaws that contribute to unintentional litter like open top containers rather than enclosed bins.

Whether intentionally discarded or not, litter negatively affects our environmental and individual health and has a significant financial cost. We all have a shared responsibility to keep our communities clean.

Your task this week…

…is to fill up a small bag with litter (but separate the cans and bottles to recycle!). To be included in the drawing: 1) submit a photo of the most interesting thing you found, and 2) include a comment about the most common litter item you came across.


“Plogging near my house and found a golf ball. The most common items I see are food and drink trash – cans, bottles, and wrappers.”

Christina Coe

(Go buckeyes)

“Even plogging while fishing. Found a used firecracker and bobber. Recyclable items are the most commonly found items and 80% of what I pick up are beverage containers.”

Steven Gratz

(rad hikers)

“Plogging by the Scioto River, the most interesting thing I found was a snake skin! I mostly found cigarette butts and really wish there were more public service announcements on TV and radio reminding people that they do not biodegrade quickly! The filter is made of plastic.”

Angela Pryce

(Training Trekkers Too)

“Plogging at the lake. Found Christmas garland used to keep geese off the beach.”

Rose Witt

(NW Trackers)

Week 4 Activity & Winners

Although our challenge may be winding down, this doesn’t have to be the end of your plogging adventures! There are a variety of local organizations and resources that you can check out if you want to continue helping clean up our communities.

  • Keep Ohio Beautiful and Keep Columbus Beautiful are working to keep the environment in our state and our city healthy, safe, clean and beautiful. Did you know that the City of Columbus will loan out tools and supplies free of charge to those that want to organize a litter abatement event? Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves, trash bags, rakes, shovels, pruners, and other helpful items are available to make picking up litter and beautifying your community simple and easy. Learn more here.
  • The Ohio Department of Transportation maintains almost 50,000 lane miles of state highway and 80,000 acres of right-of-way. Their Adopt-A-Highway program allows volunteer groups to adopt a two-mile section or interchange for two years and commit to picking up litter at least four times a year. They will provide safety training, trash bags, disposable safety vests and signage. The only cost to each group is their time. Learn more here.
  • The Olentangy River runs right through campus and the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) are committed to keeping its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy. They rely heavily on volunteer participation and have a wide variety of opportunities planned for the upcoming months including several litter pick-ups. See their event calendar here.
  • Consider bringing some life and energy to the Columbus Ploggers Facebook Group. This group is dedicated to cleaning up our local trails or any other areas that may be affected from constant littering. The group can schedule meet up times for members and incorporate fun ways to clean our environment. Anyone in Ohio is welcome!
  • Outdoor Pursuits is looking for leaders in their stewardship program. If you would like to schedule a clean-up event to make a positive difference in our greenspace, consider connecting with them to assist in the planning and coordination process. Sustaining clean rivers, lakes, parks, hiking trails and wilderness areas in Ohio is something we can all get behind.

Your task this week…

…is to bring a buddy with you on your next plogging trip (even better if you make it an outing for your challenge team!). To be included in the drawing: 1) submit a photo showing your plogging partner(s), and 2) include a comment saying what you enjoyed most about plogging with others.


“Ohio SFEC Ploggers with CETE coworkers plogged along the Dripping Water Trail at Highbanks Metro Park.”

Barbara Boone

(Ohio SFEC Ploggers)

“My son is my best plogging buddy. We do it on the regular because it makes us feel good and makes things a little nicer. He is mad in this pic because of the amount of trash that is around Alum Creek!!”

Jaclyn Collopy

(Eastside Babes)

“My plogging partners keeping the Sunbury area clean.”

Steven Gratz

(rad hikers)

“Here’s my plogging buddy. I enjoyed her supervisory skills and ability to sniff out any trash!”

Samara Preisler

(ASC Ploggers)


*Team members who join the challenge but do not log activity are not eligible for prizes. PulseCash is subject to taxation at the time it is earned, so winners can accept or decline the prize.