One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Bed: Using Plastic To Aid The Homeless

Posted by GreaterGoodness

From Spokane, Washington, to Sydney, Australia, people have found a means to repurpose for a higher purpose by creating mats for the homeless to sleep on. Rather than using wool or cotton, they’re weaving with ordinary plastic grocery bags, thus bringing comfort to others and preserving the environment at the same time. While enjoying camaraderie and conversation, they’ve redefined the meaning of crocheting. Using the same plastic bags that grocery clerks store egg cartons and cereal boxes in, these groups of people cut strips into loops that they string together to form a material called “plarn,” a combination of the words “plastic” and “yarn.”

Depending on the size and thickness of the mat, it takes anywhere from 150 plastic bags to about 700 and 30 hours of time to make a bed that is approximately three feet wide and up to six feet long. The end result is a colorful mat that is both durable and washable which can provide a cushion between the hard ground and a person’s blankets or body.

While the plarn mats cannot protect a homeless person from the many dangers lurking at night, including assault and theft, they can help the fragmented bits of sleep become more tranquil. And given the lightweight material each mat is comprised of, people who need to relocate frequently can do so with ease without losing their bedding. Approximately two million plastic bags are used every minute around the world, many of which wind up in the trash where it can take 500 years or more to degrade. Rather than contributing to the plastic bag pandemic, consider making plarn mats for the less fortunate. If that doesn’t seem likely, please donate your plastic grocery bags to an organization who is transforming trash into treasure, or find your own creative use for your plastic bags to help both people and the environment. Here’s one man’s story of giving back to his community.

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