Friday, September 23, 2016

Creative recycling - plastic bags to sleeping mats

You know all those plastic shopping bags that end up in your kitchen drawer? The ones you forget to drop off at the recycling bin at the grocery store? Well, these folks have found a way to recycle them creatively.

The bags can be cut into strips and tied together to make plastic yarn or "plarn." This plarn can then be used as yarn would be, crocheted into items that are strong and resistant to moisture. Pinterest is (of course!) chock-full of ways to use plarn to crochet laundry baskets, sandals, tablecloths, and any number of items. Full instructions, including videos, are available on various websites.

A number of groups have taken to using plarn to help others. This group of women from Second Baptist Church in Union City Tennessee crochets plarn into sleeping mats for the homeless in their community and for flood victims in Louisiana. Another group from the Pittsburgh area has sent them all over the world for use by soldiers. They also make a smaller size for use as sit-upons. This Iowa group has been making the mats at their church since 2013.

Each sleeping mat, about 3 ft. by 6 ft., is made of plarn from over 600 bags. The mats are resistant to moisture, don't attract bugs, and can be rinsed off with a hose or a quick swish in a river. Plus, they're practically indestructible.

Environmentally-friendly AND kind to our fellow man. Win-win!

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