Volunteers, donations needed to help turn plastic bags into crocheted sleeping mats for the homeless

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Plastic bags, they enter our lives by the handful. 100 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year. That sounds like a big number, but the local numbers sound big, too.

“I called them and asked, ‘In a week, how many do you use in plastic bags?’ and it was several hundred thousand in one week. One store,” said Operation Green Team Director Joy McKee.

What’s better than reusing while helping others? Turning plastic bags into crocheted-mats for the homeless became one of Operation Green Team’s mission.

“It’s a huge improvement of laying on the ground,” McKee said. “It makes it a little bit warmer and it keeps the water off. And it’s just a great way to reuse the plastic bags.”

It couldn’t be done without the help of volunteers, thousands of them. It takes around 700 bags to make one mat.

A plastic bag is cut into strips, which are then linked together to create a “plarn” ball— that’s plastic yarn— then they’re crocheted together to create the mats.

This has been a city effort for several years, but the project always has room to grow.

You can contribute by donating plastic bags at Operation Green Team’s office or Home Depot.

And if you can’t crochet, you can still help! You can donate, or volunteer your time cutting the bags and linking them together to make the plarn balls.

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