Earth Day: I found a new hobby in plogging, thanks to Knockaround

Vanessa Junkin grimaces as she picks up a can from the ground.
Gross. Why are people so lazy?!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Plastic vampire teeth. A Beanie Baby tag. Bottles, cans and cups.

I’ve gone out to pick up trash in my community four times in April so far as part of an Earth Day campaign with Knockaround Sunglasses, and those are just some of the things I’ve found.

When I first heard about the campaign for BibRave Pros to opt-in to — originally a plogging campaign — I was intrigued and excited. The campaign shifted to an Earth Day campaign, but plogging — picking up trash while running — fits right in with the Earth Day theme, too.

I thought plogging would be a fun topic to blog about. But I ended up finding a new hobby.

Vanessa Junkin holds out a grocery bag full of trash in front of her.
Here I am with the grocery bag of trash I picked up during my first April plog.

I’ve been at home for the past month here in Salisbury, Maryland, only going out for essentials, running, walking — and now, picking up trash, which is a form of exercise.

I was excited to get started the day I received my sunglasses — a Special Edition called No Signal Fort Knocks. They are fun, colorful and designed based on the colored bars that used to occasionally show up on the TV.


I did all of my plogging and trash pickups by walking from my home. For my first plog, I headed to the Salisbury City Park, and I brought a grocery bag with me. I ran 1.7 miles as I picked up trash, and it took me just less than half an hour to fill the bag.

Vanessa Junkin poses standing up and holding full trash bag.
Here I am with my second haul of April: A full kitchen trash bag.

Three days later, I went out for another plog. Race Director Trent Swanson had challenged people in the Algonquin 50K Facebook group to fill a bag of trash and post a photo to get an Algonquin 50K sticker with the new artwork. This time, I took a kitchen trash bag out. I tried to plog at first, but because the bag got too heavy, this turned into a walk. Even though I’d taken a much larger bag, it still only took 39 minutes to fill.

Trash is shown in a storm drain.
We don’t want trash going into the Chesapeake Bay! This view is from my April 18 walk to pick up trash. In addition to the two visible bottles, I also found two more pieces of trash underneath the leaves.

After that, I decided to walk as I picked up trash. On April 12, I stayed even closer to home and was able to fill one kitchen-size trash bag and two grocery bags. I found an alley near my house that was filled with trash.

On Saturday, April 18, I participated in a Virtual Clean-Up that was hosted by Joceanic. The founder of Joceanic is my colleague Josephine, and I was excited to take part. For that, I picked up another kitchen trash bag worth of trash — all found not far from my house.

Gloved hand picking up bottle in grass.
I spotted this bottle on a run and went back to get it on my walk that day.

For Earth Day — Wednesday, April 22 — Wicomico County Recreation & Parks (where I work) is partnering with Joceanic for the Independent Earth Day Clean-Up. Anyone can participate and share their trash hauls with the hashtag #WicomicoEarthDay. I’ll be grabbing my Knockarounds, a trash bag and my gloves for another cleanup event.

I’m used to busy spring seasons, with plenty of races and other plans. I basically have no plans now — aside from a few virtual ones — and I’ve found myself with extra time. Picking up trash is a great way to fill that time. I can be outside, get exercise and help my community at the same time — all while listening to audiobooks or podcasts on my AfterShokz.

It is disappointing to see that there’s always more trash. But we can all do our part to help. Think about the difference it would make if everyone helped clean up their own neighborhoods once a week!

It’s important to be safe when you’re picking up trash. Because of the current concerns with COVID-19, I’ve been taking extra precautions. Of course, I’ve worn gloves for each of my plogs or walks to pick up trash.

Vanessa Junkin poses with a bag of trash.
Here I am with the trash I picked up for Joceanic’s Virtual Clean-Up.

I’ve also washed my sunglasses, AfterShokz and watch with soap and water (the electronics I have are waterproof) and sanitized my phone. I’ve also taken the clothes I wore off after each plog or walk, taken a shower and washed the clothes and gloves before wearing them again. Be careful about taking off your gloves — you don’t want to touch the dirty parts of the gloves with ungloved hands, for example.

The Great Outdoors

The abrupt slowing down of my busy schedule has also made it easy to appreciate the outdoors.

Scenic spring view of road with green on both sides, bushes in shades of pink on the right and trees.
I captured this scenic spring view on a recent walk.

On March 23, I started participating in the #19For19Challenge, which was 19 minutes of physical activity for 19 days. It’s now been 30 days, and I’m still going. I’ve decided to walk at least a mile each day on the days I don’t run, to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

I tend to notice new things when I slow the pace down for a walk, and I’ve seen some beautiful views and fun new details. Just today, I noticed a zebra-stripe mailbox that I hadn’t picked out before.

Hug a Tree

Hugging a tree is a fun and easy way to celebrate Earth Day. I took note of an article a friend of mine shared on Facebook a little while ago, too — which states that hugging a tree can be good for you.

Selfie of Vanessa Junkin hugging a tree.
Hug a tree, like I’m doing here!

You also have a chance to win some Knockarounds if you post a photo of yourself hugging a tree on social media by the end of the day on Earth Day, April 22.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Tag Knockaround and BibRave, and use the hashtag #EarthDayKnocks
  • Two people will win a pair of Knockarounds. They’ll be looking for the most creative photos!

If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of Knockarounds, you can use code BibRaveKnocks4 to get 20 percent off your order at

I hope you’ll join me (separately — from your own home) for the Independent Earth Day Clean-Up tomorrow. However, I also understand if you might not be rushing to pick up trash in our current situation. If that’s the case for you, I hope you’ll keep plogging in mind as a potential future activity. It’s fun!

Read more from fellow BibRave Pros:

9 thoughts on “Earth Day: I found a new hobby in plogging, thanks to Knockaround

  1. I was able to go plogging (via a lunchtime walk) on Earth Dsy. Ugh. I’m always amazed at how much trash is out there. Thanks for all your plogging efforts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was able to go plogging (via a lunchtime walk) on Earth Day. I’m always amazed at how much trash I’d out there. I was even one of the winners for the Knockaround promo 🙂 Thanks for all your plogging efforts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have so much trash along the roads here. I should plog, but I’d need a wagon to carry all the garbage I’d pick up! Nice job. Those sunglasses look cute!

    Liked by 1 person

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