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?
Lakewood High School senior Shelby Tillema is just like any student who is active with her after-school club. 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.
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.
A 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.
The Plarn Club
With this inspiration, the Lakewood’s Plarn Club was created and soon, high school students joined the mission of turning plastic bags into something useful.
Plastic bags are harmful to our environment, an estimated 100 billion plastic bags are being used each year and each one can take more than 500 years to photo-degrade in a landfill according to the Center of Biological Diversity.
We’ve seen how many marine animals mistakenly consume plastic bags thinking that they are food, 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?
Good thing that with this club, some plastic bags are actually put to good use. The students 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.
Once the plarn has been created, some of the students will then crochet them into sleeping mats.
These sleeping mats are actually comfortable, surprisingly soft, durable and water-resistant.
Save the environment and help the homeless
Once these plarn sleeping mats are finished, they are handed over to Jeffco Action Center where they are donated to the homeless.
Not only do these high school students know how important it is to save the environment, but they also have a big heart 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.
So, if you’re near the area and have some plastic bags that you’re not using, share the word and help with this awesome cause!
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