Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Clair and have lived in Bristol for nearly 16 years. I’m one of the many university students who never left after falling in love with the city. I’m a teacher by trade but in my free time I lead plogging groups with Queen Square Run Club and Alpha Run Club.
Plogging is a Swedish term that is used for jogging and picking up litter and began as a way to clean local areas of litter while out running. I have always had an interest in environmental topics such as sustainability and pollution and wanted to do more to give back to the local environment.
Tell us about your preferred Bristol walking route and why you love it so much. How long have you been walking there?
The harbourside loop has been a favourite of mine ever since I was a student. Being by the bustling harbour and watching the world go by brings a strange sense of calm and reflection. It is also the 5k route of many local run clubs in the city and the main location for our plogs.
Who normally accompanies you on your walks?
Our plogging groups have now been running for one year and have grown significantly over this time. One of the main reasons I started the plogging groups was to find others to litter-pick with – this has allowed me to connect with like-minded people and raise awareness within the running community.
How do you feel when you’re out for a walk?
I always find a plog or litter-pick can have a significant impact on my mood and well-being. I can finish work feeling exhausted and the thought of getting out to lead a plog can feel overwhelming. However, within no time at all, the feel-good hormones take effect as I laugh and chat with others while exercising and giving back to our local green spaces. The added task of bending down and picking up litter is adding some core strengthening movements to your daily run/walk.
Do you have any particular kit you take with you when you’re walking? If so, what do you take and why?
It’s always advised to use protective equipment when litter picking, such as gloves, bag hoops and litter pickers as personal safety is always a priority. You can hire these items from Bristol Waste if you’re a Bristol City Council resident. We provide runners with the necessary kit to take part in our plogs. As a minimum, I will always try to ensure I have a bag and glove with me when I walk or run so I can do an impromptu litter pick.
What tips would you give anyone thinking of giving it a go?
Whether you’re a runner or a walker, incorporating a litter-pick within your activity is simple. Pack a glove (preferably one with protective coating), a bag and away you go. As I mentioned, your safety is a priority, so I always advise our runners against picking up any sharps, unknown liquids or heavy items. You can report these to your local council for collection. If you would prefer to join a group, there are also lots of community litter-picking events for both walkers and runners. Social media is a good place to find local events.
Anything else you would like to mention?
If you would like to find out more about our plogging events, I’m on Instagram @litterploggerbristol.
To find out more about single use pollution and litter-picking in general, Trash Free Trails, the 2 Minute Foundation and Keep Britain Tidy are great sources of information, news and support. These companies also advocate for change and provide methods of recording/reporting the litter you find.
Locally, the Bristol Waste website is useful for local information and tips on how to recycle and report waste collections.