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Interview with Erik Ahlström

Tell us a little about yourself Erik, who you are and what you do…
My name is Erik Ahlström, I live in Sweden. I love being outside and spend most of my time outside. I’ve spent many years riding bikes in the summer and skiing in the winter months. I’m also a big fan of running trails and do this regularly.

When did you start plogging and what compelled you to do it?
‘Plocka-up’ became plogga. It’s a really simple idea that says if you see some rubbish go and pick it up. Think of how much rubbish could be collected if every person that was outside – walking, jogging or running – was to pick up just one piece. It would make such a huge difference. It gives you such a good feeling on top of the running – you get a high from doing something to help take the trash out of the outdoor environment. We’ve done this for 7 years now and many are joining plogging. We want to keep building on this for the future.

What do you see for the future of plogging?
I see a huge future for plogga and can see a time where plogga is competitive. People already want to find more rubbish than the next person and to be the best at plogga. People care about what they are doing from an environmental side, but the fun and competition side comes out too. ‘Plogga World Cup’ could be something in the future, where we show off those that collect more and more junk than anyone else.

Why did you get involved with the Nikwax # PlogForPlastic initiative?
I only work with brands whose ethics I agree with. The ethos of what Nikwax do is very close to my own. I have respect for Nick Brown and his work in ethical production, reducing carbon footprint, and reducing plastic use by using recycled bottles. By taking part in # PlogForPlastic I hope I can help draw attention to the problem of plastic waste in the world, and the small steps we can all do to reduce it.

What draws you to work with a brand like Nikwax?
Many companies inside the outdoor industry talk a lot about all the things they do for the environment. The difference with Nikwax is they are the real thing when it comes to actively and proactively making a difference for the environment. I know Nick Brown brought Greenpeace to the big industry trade show – ISPO – in 2014. This started the ‘Detox’ program and meant key brands in the outdoors were forced to look in the mirror and make real change to the harm they were doing to the environment in their production process; that behaviour is what plogga is all about. We want to make real difference, and want others to join us in doing it, not just talk about making a difference.

 What is it about Nikwax’s ethics and products that appeals to you?
Nikwax always seems to me like it is ahead of its time. I know their products are all PFC-free, with nothing harmful inside, and it’s been that way for a long time. I recall hearing Nick talk this way long before the industry was all talking this way and that is what I like about Nikwax.

You have been on tour recently in the plogging van, can you tell us more about that?
I took some time out and switched off from digital to recharge my batteries. I went to Kiruna to climb and plogga Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, with my son – who is also called Keb. Once recharged, I took the plogga van everywhere in Sweden on tour. We would stop in a place, plogga with old friends and new friends, then move on to the next place. Our quest was how much we could plogga in just one month. We are moving through Stockholm, Goteborg and Riksgransen in the very far north. The world is already talking about plogga as the Swedish eco-fitness craze that saves the world, so let’s do more of it!

Set up your own #PlogForPlastic today by e-mailing us on tom.willox@nikwax.co.uk for a starter pack.

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Nikwax launches #PlogForPlastic, an initiative to clean up the Outdoors

Restore, Renew, Re-use, Recycle

Whilst plastic has brought many benefits to humankind, it is the uncomfortable truth that plastic pollution is spoiling our planet’s most sensitive and vital ecosystems. From the deepest oceans to inland habitats and waterways, the volume of plastic accumulation in our natural world is causing long-term damage to natural habitats, and wildlife.

Releasing plastic waste into our environment is unnecessary, and wholly destructive.

As a responsible user of plastic to deliver its Waterproofing and Sweatproofing aftercare, Nikwax® has always ensured that its bottles are fully recyclable. In addition, in January 2019 Nikwax announced that, by the end of 2020, one hundred percent of its bottles will be made from post-consumer recycled plastic.  

To further the aim of keeping plastic out of wild spaces, Nikwax is now also sponsoring a novel clean-up initiative.

#PlogForPlastic means litter picking whilst you jog, for cleaner green spaces
Nikwax has teamed up with Swedish trail runner, Erik Ahlström, the founder of Plogging – litter picking whilst jogging – to launch the Nikwax #PlogForPlastic campaign. The campaign will encourage people of all ages and fitness abilities, to step outdoors and be active whilst removing litter that is of detriment to their local environment – benefitting the participants through activity and ultimately, the planet, through the removal of waste.

Chris Field, Commercial Director at Nikwax said, 
“Plastic pollution is today one of the most serious environmental problems affecting our world. At Nikwax, we are committed to raising awareness of the problem, so that more and more people are empowered to stop plastic pollution by changing their attitudes and habits.

The new Nikwax #PlogForPlastic campaign aims to inspire everyone, from brands to local outdoor groups and individuals, to get outside and help clean up our outdoor spaces. We are optimistic that we can all take a lead together to protect the Great Outdoors that we all love.”

How the #PlogForPlastic initiative supports the EOCA “Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea campaign”
Nikwax will host a series of Plogging events throughout parks in the UK, Germany and Benelux, to encourage people to get outdoors, while actively raising awareness of plastic pollution and highlighting the benefits of cleaning up their green space.

Nikwax aims to engage over 100,000 people in the #PlogForPlastic campaign, by the end of January 2020 and encourage other outdoor companies to join and further their environmental commitment.

All plastic collected during #PlogForPlastic will count towards the European Outdoor Conservation Association’s (EOCA) `Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea` campaign; a campaign focused on clearing plastic waste from 3,000km of natural habitat within the next two years.

Information on Plogging events will be announced via the Nikwax website and social media, from July 15th 2019.

Keep up to date with all things related to Nikwax #PlogForPlastic HERE