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Let’s Create Solutions for the Plastic Bag Problem!

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Are you looking for a better solution for the destination of plastic bags? Maybe you’re tired of the collection of plastic that is forever growing in your cupboard or under the sink. Switching to reusable, cloth grocery bags is a long-term solution but you still have that collection of plastic bags that could be a resource. While folks may disagree about policies to ban single-use plastic, there are many ways for plastic to be re-used! 

It is estimated that worldwide we use between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags each year, with Canadians contributing to the use of 2.86 billion of these bags. But this plastic doesn’t have to end up in the landfill. Have you been introduced to the concept of “plarn”, or plastic yarn? Plastic yarn comes from tying together all forms of plastic bags which can then be crocheted together to create sleeping mats or pillows for people experiencing homelessness. This plastic solution is waterproof, easy to transport, and offers an extra layer of comfort for people who might have to sleep on concrete. It takes about 500 bags to make a mat that is two-and-a-half feet by six feet. This means that if 1 of every 100 plastics bags Canadians use were turned into mats, over 50,000 mats could be created and plastic bags could be used for more than that single trip home from the grocery store.

Putting the mats together is a simple process that does not involve the use of any electricity. This could be a great service project for schools or community groups looking for projects that help the Earth. The only materials and tools required are plastic bags, scissors, knitting needles or crochet hook, and your time. In January, students in Grand Falls-Windsor turned 10,000 bags into 20 mats. Students can donate their plastic bags from home and then work together to create mats, providing an opportunity to learn about wasting less while helping others. You can check out our Pinterest page for a variety of upcycling activities and crafts to repurpose waste materials from your home and community to keep them out of the landfill. By working together on creative solutions like “plarn” projects, we can learn to waste less every day!

~Amber McMunn,
Engagement Officer


Pile of mats:
Man sleeping:…

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