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Five Years Later…Still Using Plastic Bags for Good!

6658-tps-mats-3It’s December, the season of giving. While we hope to consider those less fortunate all year long, we thought now was a great time to remind you of the good that can come from plastic bags.

Wait…what? Those trashy plastic bags are good? Really? Now, we didn’t say that. But as long as those pesky single-use bags are being used, there will be ways to spin them into something good. And by “spin” we mean it literally!

More than 5 years ago, we told you about a modest group of seniors who met to spin plastic bags into “yarn” which they then turned into sleeping mats for the homeless. (refresh your memory here). The plastic mats are waterproof, easily transportable, and provide insulation from the cold concrete.

It could have been filed away under “Awww. Nice gesture…” Here’s the thing, though: it wasn’t! Apparently others got wind of this and now, fast forward five years, it’s still a thing (and BTW we are thrilled!). We were forwarded a brief video about this just yesterday, which made us revisit that old blog post above, do some sleuthing, and discover that the love has spread!

  • Every week, volunteers at Faith Westwood United Methodist Church in Omaha, Neb. turn thousands of disposable plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. They say it takes more than 1,000 plastic bags to make one mat. Marilynn Jones can single-handedly make two per week. “They tell me I’ve done 248. I don’t keep track,” she told KMVT News in 2015. “I think the fact that I’m making something worthwhile, where I know where it goes and people that use it need it — I don’t like to just crochet for an afghan or something. That doesn’t help me. I just need to do something for someone else.”
  • The Bag Ladies, from Union City, Tennessee, have been at it for about 2 years. Once weekly, they meet to cut bags into strips and then tie them together in order to create what they’ve dubbed “plarn” (plastic yarn). They then use the plarn to crochet the mats. The task is no easy feat, though. Some have arthritis, but they push through to make a difference in the lives of others.
  • The city of Huntsville, Alabama has gotten behind this project, too! Huntsville’s Operation Green Team has shown that this can be bigger than a few friends who get together. The city turned it into a city-wide challenge to make 500 mats. They even provided the bags!
  • It’s also gone global! Several charities across Australia have enthusiastically agreed to accept donations of plastic mats to be redistributed to the homeless.

Want to try it? Just search on “how to make plastic bag sleeping mats” for some cool video tutorials, or start here.

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