Montreal

Do a little jog, pick up a little trash, let's go plogging tonight!

Plogging is the latest fitness trend out of Sweden, that involves picking up garbage as you enjoy your daily jog. Some Montrealers say it's and easy and fun way to workout and help out the environment, but is your stomach strong enough?

The Swedish fitness trend combines jogging with picking up sidewalk litter — and it's catching on in Montreal

Eva Franc picks up trash in her Mile-End neighbourhood during an afternoon plogging session. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

The spring air is brisk as Eva Franc turns up her funk playlist and gets ready for her evening jog along St-Joseph Boulevard.

She's got all the gear you'd expect from a dedicated runner. Leggings? Check. Trusty windbreaker? Check. Garbage bag for picking up trash… wait, what?

That's right, for the next hour or so, Franc will be doing what's known as plogging. The latest fitness trend out of Sweden, plogging combines jogging and tidying up your neighbourhood by picking up trash.

The trend has now hit Montreal, and as Franc will attest, it can get a little messy.

"There's a lot of Tim Hortons drinks, and sometimes you can find disgusting stuff, like Tampax or stuff like that. There's a lot of Kleenex also — a lot of Kleenex!" said Franc, holding up a bag of trash.

Eva Franc jogging along Villeneuve Avenue, with a garbage bag full of trash. She's plogging, a Swedish fitness trend that combines jogging and cleaning up your neighbourhood. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

What's in a plog?

The word plogging is a portmanteau of jogging and the Swedish phrase "plocka upp," meaning pick up. Franc discovered the trend on a trip to Europe, and thought the concept would be a welcome antidote to Montreal's post-winter mess.

"It's crazy all the stuff you can find, especially after [a] storm. There's a lot of trash everywhere," said Franc, slowing her jog to pick up a few fast-food containers.

She's not the only one who wants to pitch in, judging by the more than 230 Montrealers who have joined the Facebook plogging group Franc co-founded. It's an an easy habit to pick up, says Franc, because all that's needed is a plastic bag, some gloves, and a little goodwill to spread around.

"If people can have a conscience about what they're putting outside, and how they consume, they'll be more responsible and take care of our city," said Franc.

After jogging for just a few minutes, Eva Franc has already filled a small bag with litter she found on the street. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)

Ploggers, assemble!

Plogging may be easy to pick up, but it sure isn't inconspicuous. Franc gets more than a few curious looks as she's jogging with her trash bag, and it's sparked an idea between her and her Facebook group co-founder, Annie Éthier.

"She called me and said, 'We should do a T-shirt with 'Plogging' [on it], because everyone will see that and say, 'What's plogging?'" said Franc. 

On April 22, Franc is hoping to make an even bigger impression, as her Facebook group holds a large plogging event in Jarry Park to celebrate Earth Day.

But ploggers beware, Franc says the hobby can get addictive. It's spilled over into her commute around the city, with her eagle eyes spotting garbage left and right.

"Most of the time, I always have a plastic bag with me now. It's crazy. I think I'm becoming a bit crazy about it now, but it's OK," said Franc.

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