Have you ever stopped to pick up trash on a bike ride? Turns out there is a term as well as an entire movement behind this activity – “Pliking” is the action of picking up litter while biking; and this eco-friendly trend is gaining popularity all over the world. 

Where does the term come from? While we might think that the “pl” is from “pick litter” combined with “bik” the truth is  the word originates from the Swedish term “plocka up” – which means “pick up” – combined with biking. 

And there’s more! Pliking is the extension of an earlier movement – “plogging.” You guessed it – picking up litter while jogging. Plogging and pliking are quickly becoming global activities – along with, yes, plalking! 

So how does a person plike? Aside from a bike, there are a few necessary items that make pliking safe and enjoyable: a helmet, a backpack/pannier, and safety equipment including bag liners and gloves.

Pliking rewards both people and the planet. The activity is fun, good for our health, and great for the environment. According to pliking.org, litter cleanup costs the US almost $11.5 billion a year, which still doesn’t eradicate all litter. Communities rely on volunteers to make up the difference. 

Pliking is a uniquely accessible and easy way to clean up shared public space. The organization Bicycles Create Change reports that, on average, there are 6,000 pieces of litter per mile on US roads. Through community-led initiatives like pliking, we improve local environments in ways that benefit generations to come.

PLIKE NEWPORT, the first Newport pliking event, takes place on April 25th, as part of Aquidneck Island Earth Week and is hosted by partners Bike Newport and Eastern RI Conservation District (ERICD).

Event poster by Hannah Purcell Martin

The cleanup aligns with this year’s Earth Week theme of climate resilience. “We’ve been talking about combining biking with litter cleanup for some time now – we’re excited to discover there’s a name for our plan! It’s perfect to partner with ERICD to make ‘pliking’ an Aquidneck Island happening,” said Bari Freeman, Executive Director at Bike Newport. 

Bike Newport aims to use pliking to help bridge the goals of getting more people on bikes more often, reducing carbon footprints, and stewarding our fragile environment. “It’s our collective responsibility to leave no trace. With ‘Plike Newport,’ riders will leave the environment greener and cleaner than we found it!” said Hannah Cobb, avid cyclist and Plike Newport co-leader.

In a recent Bike Newport community survey, 91% of respondents agreed that outside litter is bothersome. Although 52% of respondents had never picked up litter while on a bike ride, 87% of respondents said that they would stop to pick up litter while on a bike ride if they had a trash bag and gloves. At Plike Newport, cyclists and pedestrians will be provided with the tools they need for a safe clean-up experience.

This first Plike Newport event will be coordinated from the parking lot behind Bike Newport’s headquarters at 62 Broadway from 10am-2pm on Sunday April 25th, and will be a COVID-safe experience. At check-in, plikers will receive reusable bags and gloves for their protection, thanks to Newport Biodiesel, Keep Nature Wild, and Shaws. There will be hot coffee provided by The Nitro Bar and local pastries provided by Provencal and Plant City along with prizes for various event categories, including “most interesting item pliked,” “most trash by pound,” and “best pliking selfie”. 

Plogging and plalking are also options for those who would rather participate on foot. Masks are required. The fun-filled event will mark the end of Earth Week 2021 and the beginning of a pliking era on Aquidneck Island.

Register for Plike Newport for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/plike-newport-tickets-141039389611 Spots are limited. To stay up-to-date on the event and all Bike Newport happenings, follow Bike Newport on social media @BikeNewportRI. 

Bike Newport and the ERICD hope to see you there! If you have any questions about the event, email hannah@bikenewportri.org

Written by Hannah Cobb, on behalf of Bike Newport

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