New to the blog? Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series!
In this third and final post on our Plog for the Sea Challenge, we wanted to highlight how a little goes a long way!
By dedicating just 10 minutes a day for 10 days throughout the month of October, our 10 participants plogged for a total of 33.6 hours and picked up close to 77 bags of litter!
Along with the various Nova Scotian spots shown below, plogging also happened in Cape Breton, PEI, Ottawa and Vancouver. It's really impressive what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish.
Spring is still a little ways away, but as soon as that snow melts it will uncover an unsightly array of trash along our roads and on our coasts. Instead of getting discouraged, let's all get out there and plog! For some final inspiration, here is the last set of responses from our ambassadors. They were asked what surprised them the most from their experience and what advice they would have for anyone considering plogging.
Meghan returning from one of her plogging trips.
The surprise - I wish I could say that I was surprised by the amount of litter I encountered during the plogging challenge, but I was not. Unfortunately, the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality is still quite prevalent in society today. What I was surprised by was how great of an activity plogging is to do with friends! It allows you to catch up with a friend while making a positive impact on the environment.
The advice - There are so many stressors facing the ocean today. The news is populated by stories of doom and gloom of the ocean. Often times, it can be quite overwhelming to the point where the you can be left wondering if the actions of a single person can really make a difference. Plogging is proof that actions of a single person can have a huge impact! It is among the easiest things that you can do to help the ocean. That is all to say that if you are considering becoming a plogger, do it!!!!
Jocelyn with two bags of "loot" after a plogging trip.
The surprise - I was surprised by two things during my plogging. First I was surprised about the amount of garbage I found in some spots and that it wasn't being cleaned up by our city or some of the community. It was sometimes hard to stay positive about my small impact on these large amounts of garbage on road sides and in parks. But secondly I was surprised by the overwhelming support! My donors ranged from close friends to people I haven't spoken to in years and everyone I met while I was plogging had big smiles, encouraging words and even fist bumps and high fives for me. That really helped me keep up my plogivation!
The advice - Get a great pair of gloves and some tongs! They came in handy during wet weather or hard to reach places. If you can, recruit plogging pals - group plogging makes the time go faster and keeps spirits high. And treat yourself to a walk on a well maintained trail every few plogs, just to get back into the beauty of nature and remind yourself of why you're out there.
Our appreciation event at The Watch That Ends the Night.
We finished our challenge off with an appreciation event to thank all our plogging ambassadors. The Watch That Ends the Night provided delicious appetizers to our group that were happily scarfed down! We were able to offer prizes to those who logged the most plogging hours and to our top fundraisers thanks to the generous donations of Aerobics First and Patagonia Halifax. Thank you to these sponsors!
A huge thank you to all 117 people who donated to our plogger's efforts and helped raise $3,605 for ocean education!
And finally, one more thank you to our ploggers: Abbie, Alexandra, Jennifer, Jocelyn, Kaitlin, Lyn, Maddie, Meghan, Melanie, Raymond and Ruby.
If you don't know what plogging is yet and haven't read Part 1, see below or click here.
When we created the Plog for the Sea challenge, we wanted to ensure that we weren't creating more waste with our efforts. We put our sustainability thinking caps on and thought of a couples ways this could be done.
First, we provided our local ambassadors with reusable bags that they could use to pick up the waste they found. These were provided to us by the Alexander Keith's Brewery located in Halifax. Their master brewer, Stefan, is always looking for ways to make sure their used malt bags don't go to waste. He cut the bags for us, slit some handles, blew out the grain residues and delivered some perfect plogging bags to us! Thank you Stefan!
Stefan showing off the reusable malt bags! Photo curtesy of The Tare Shop who caught Stefan in action bringing some bags to the Historic Brewery Market for all shoppers to use.
If you want one, or many, of these bags - contact us!
The second thing we did to reduce our own footprint with this challenge was provide our ambassadors with gardening gloves. For safety reasons, gloves are an important aspect of plogging. Many clean-up efforts provide participants with latex gloves, and while we applaud all efforts to tidy up our environment, those latex gloves ultimately end up in the trash. Considering becoming a plogger? Go purchase a pair of cheap gloves that will last you all plogging season and beyond!
Want some other tips to begin plogging?
Here's the second set of responses from our ploggers after we asked them what surprised them the most from their experience and what advice they would have for anyone considering plogging.
Abbie's dog, Count, along for a plogging run!
The surprise - I was surprised by the amount of support I received from strangers and people I barely knew. Without trying to sound negative, I thought it would be pretty hard to reach the $200 goal. But people quickly jumped on the bandwagon and kept up with my progress which was amazing. People were so excited to financially support a local organization and even help plogging.
The advice - If you're considering becoming a plogger, don't be disheartened by the amount of litter out there! Just know that you're doing your best and you are making a difference, no matter how small it feels. And if you're not hauling in huge bags of litter... that's ok, too! Picking up cigarette butts is very time consuming for little reward... but I remember reading somewhere that one cigarette butt can immediately contaminate 7 L of water and continue releasing toxins for 10 years!
Melanie, our second West Coast ambassador, plogging in Vancouver.
The surprise - I was surprised by the number of other folks who got involved! I am so glad people joined the team to clean up for the sea and support Back to the Sea’s fundraising goal!
The advice - My advice, carry gloves with you everywhere. It’s always the times you are not Plogging when you see a huge garbage can turned over or a seagull that has just tore up a McDonalds bag. Those are the times when ploggers need to be at the ready! Now that my eyes are open to the amount of garbage on our streets and seawalls, I can’t not see it.
Jenn doing a beach plog.
The surprise - I was disheartened to see so much litter that was found litterally everywhere, but what surprised me was how much we can accomplish in such a short period of time. In ten minutes of plogging we can fill an entire bag and make for a happier and healthier environment. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of support, encouragement, donations and messages that trickled in on the daily from people online and in person. This challenge made me realize that there is a wonderful network of caring, like-minded, passionate people that are fully on board to connect & continue to work together in helping our environment in any way we can.
The advice - I recommend investing in a durable pair of gardening gloves that will sustain all elements and that you will be able to reuse for each plogging adventure. I used one pair of gloves the entire month and they worked perfectly other than I do wish they could have been a bit more water-resistant, as some of the messes I got myself into left my hands sopping wet with who-knows-what. Speaking of which, hand sanitizer is good to have close by. Last but not least, a couple of reusable bags (email Back to the Sea to get some of Keith's used malt bags!).
My advice to future ploggers would be 1) Have the items I’ve listed above on-hand for emergency plogs, as I had many of those. 2) Talk about it- whether you make a post, record your experience, or talk to friends and family about your experiences-it will bring more awareness and recruit more ploggers! 3) Don’t be shy. If you do not have the means to dispose of the garbage you’ve collected, reach out to local businesses that have secure and covered bins. 4) Have fun with it! Get friends together, laugh off some of the outrageous finds. It can get ugly out there, and you can start to feel pretty discouraged BUT, know that you’re doing your part, and others are too!
🌎 💙 🌊
This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Read part 1 below. Stay tuned to find out more about the success of our challenge and to hear more anecdotes and advice!
First things first - what is plogging? Picking up litter while jogging!
And why is it important? Because 80% of the garbage found in our ocean is land-based. Ouf! That's quite the statistic.
But what's the happy news? Keep reading!
On October 1st, eleven ambassadors joined our Plog for the Sea challenge. Their mission was to plog for minimum 10 days for 10 minutes each time during the month of October. That's 100 minutes dedicated to helping keep the ocean trash-free. Each participant also committed to fundraising $200 for our Society.
Kick-off group plog along the Dartmouth waterfront near the Touch Tank Hut!
We were blown away by the dedication of all our ambassadors. Not only did most of them go well above 100 minutes of plogging, but our team fundraising goal of $2000 was smashed and over $3,600 was raised!
We asked our ambassadors what surprised them the most of their experience and what advice they would give to anyone considering plogging. Read their responses for some guaranteed inspiration!
Kaitlin plogging on Bluff Trail.
The surprise - When starting off the plogging challenge I expected it to be rewarding, impactful, and easy to incorporate into my daily routine. What I did not expect was how much plogging brought people together. Whether I was walking with friends, reading kind messages, or being encouraged by the community it never felt as if I was plogging alone.
The advice - Many of us strive to make a positive impact in our community but all too often we are deterred by the “am I really making a difference” thought. With plogging, this thought never crosses your mind as you can physically see the difference your efforts make pre- and post-plog. This practice, although small, will ensure that you leave a positive impact everywhere you go.
Magali, our ED, and a group of friends plogging on McNabs Island.
The surprise - How fast 10 minutes goes by when you're busy plogging!! I was shocked at how much garbage you can pick up in 10 minutes, since I don't often time myself.
The advice - Plogging is better together! I had a lot of fun plogging with my friends, and we made it into a fun game of scavenger hunt (for who could find the biggest, weirdest, most unusual piece of trash) and before long, we had our bags full and big smiles on!
Ruby plogging in Vancouver. Yes! We had some participants on the West coast!
I was surprised how much “garbage” I picked up was actually recyclable.
I was surprised how quickly the time would pass when I was in my groove plogging.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many people would smile and say thanks for cleaning up.
I was surprised how quickly litter would accumulate in just one day.
The advice - Wear gloves! I found it faster and easier to separate recyclables from landfill items right away into separate bags instead of having to sort it after the fact. Use your plogging time as your cool down so you can still get in a good work out if you want to.
♻️ 🌊 🌎
This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Stay tuned to find out more about the success of our challenge and to hear more anecdotes and advice!