Crafts & DIY
Teens take an idea from the elderly and turn plastic bags into “plarn” mats for the homeless
Did you know you can turn plastic bags into mats and blankets that are well-insulated and effective?
Jessica
09.08.21

Teens are so creative!

What if you can find a way to help save the environment by recycling plastic bags and be able to help the homeless as well? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Former Lakewood High School senior Shelby Tillema was like any student taking part in an after-school club – almost. The difference?

She was able to find a way to create a club that wouldn’t just help the environment but will also aid the homeless.

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

The inspiration

In an interview with JPS-TV, Shelly Tillema explained that she saw a news report about “Bev’s Bag Brigade,” a group of women who are able to produce hundreds of “plarn” mats for the Volunteers of America since 2009.

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

Plarn is basically plastic yarn, which these women crochet into warm mats that they donate to Volunteers of America. Then the VOA hands them over to anyone who needs them.

Each year, they are able to produce hundreds of plarn sleeping mats and at the same time, they are able to reuse plastic grocery bags.

With this inspiration in mind, the Lakewood’s Plarn Club was created and soon, high school students joined the mission of turning plastic bags into something useful.

Pexels
Source:
Pexels

Plastic bags are harmful to our environment. And yet an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are being used each year and each one can take more than 500 years to degrade in a landfill.

We’ve seen how many marine animals mistakenly consume plastic bags thinking that they are food, and we’ve seen how these plastic bags contaminate our environment.

Did you also know that an average family in the U.S can use and take home more than 1,500 plastic bags a year?

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

Good thing that with this club, some plastic bags are actually put to good use. The students would meet in the afternoon and start the process of creating plarn mats.

“You take recycled plastic grocery bags or just any plastic bags and you cut them into strips, and you tie those strips together and that makes this thing called plarn, plastic bag yarn,” president and club founder Shelby Tillema shared to JPS-TV.

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

Once the plarn has been created, some of the students crocheted them into sleeping mats.

These sleeping mats are actually comfortable, surprisingly soft, durable and water-resistant.

Once these plarn sleeping mats are finished, they were handed over to Jeffco Action Center where they are donated to the homeless.

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

Not only did these high school students know how important it is to save the environment, but they also used their hearts to help those who are in need.

A nice and warm plarn sleeping mat can do so much for someone who needs it. What better way to spend the afternoon than to recycle plastic bags to help the environment, create something beautiful with it and help the homeless?

“It’d be awesome if other Jeffco schools imitated this idea,” Shelby shared.

YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado
Source:
YouTube - JPS-TV: Jeffco Public Schools - Colorado

Be sure to check out this video to hear from these amazing students.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Share this article
By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
Advertisement
Advertisement