Project Transforms Plastic Grocery Bags Into Beds

Recycle Your Old Plastic Grocery Bags

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- If you have a bunch of old plastic grocery bags at home that you keep saving "just in case," there's now something you can do with them, that will actually help people in your community! 

Operation Bed Roll is a collaboration between Greensboro’s Field Operations and Police departments to keep non-recyclable materials out of landfills – and help some of our neediest residents have a safe place to sleep.

Operation Bed Roll aims to transform thousands of plastic grocery bags into “plarn,” or plastic bag yarn used to create crocheted sleeping mats that provide an insulated barrier for those who sleep on the ground.

Greensboro Recycling Educator Tori Carle trains residents how to make the plarn and Greensboro police officers will distribute the mats to the homeless throughout the winter. The goal is to collect 100 plarn bed rolls by October 1.

The Interactive Resource Center, a non-profit that helps people experiencing homelessness, has set a second goal of 100 more bed rolls by January 1, 2017. 

Plastic bags like the kind you get when you buy groceries or other items cannot be recycled via the City’s residential recycling program.

Plastic bags that are put into residential recycling bins cause daily disruptions at the City’s Municipal Recycling Facility, getting caught in the sorting machinery.

Creating plarn is a creative way to reuse those plastic bags. Plarn can be used to knit or crochet a variety of items. Operation Bed Roll allows residents to use their craft skills to make bed rolls so these plastic bags can become something useful to the community.

The City of Greensboro is now seeking crocheters to take on this project. It’s an ideal craft project for church, school groups, or individuals.  

It takes between 500-700 plastic bags to create a bed roll. Field Operations hosts free plarn workshops to teach residents how to create the source material for the project.

Check one out: 

2 pm, September 17, Shelf Life Art Supply Co., 2718 Lawndale Dr.

3:30 pm, September 18, Providence Baptist Church, 1106 Tuscola St.

10 am, September 24, Vance Chavis Lifelong Learning Center, 900 S. Benbow Rd.

6 pm, September 27, Vance Chavis Lifelong Learning Center, 900 S. Benbow Rd.

3 pm, October 7, Glenwood Branch Library, 1901 W. Florida St.

6 pm, October 12, Kathleen Clay Library, 1420 Price Park Dr.

10 am, October 15, Central Library, 219 N. Church St.

6 pm, November 15, Central Library, 219 N. Church St.

You do not need all 500-700 plastic bags to learn to make plarn, just a few to get started. Make sure to ask your neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends to help collect bags. Here is what you need to bring to workshops:

10 or more plastic bags
Scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
Q-sized crochet hook (16 mm)

If you want to help make a bed roll on your own, you can drop off your your completed bed roll at one of these locations:

Central Library, 219 N. Church St.
Glenwood Library, 1901 W. Florida St.
Hemphill Library, 2301 W. Vandalia Rd.
Kathleen Clay Edwards Library, 1420 Price Park Dr.
Vance H. Chavis Lifelong Learning Center, 900 S. Benbow Rd.
McGirt-Horton Library, 2501 Phillips Ave.
Benjamin Library, 1530 Benjamin Pkwy.
Glenn McNairy Library, 4860 Lake Jeanette Rd.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek Rd.


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