Best way to reuse bags

Published 9:17 pm Monday, October 29, 2018

Plastic bags are among the worst inventions, environmentally speaking. They require tons of energy and resources to produce, and many people use them only once, after which they often find their way to landfills, rivers and oceans. They litter the side of the highways, stick in trees until the wind tears them to shreds, and in general are an unsightly mess.

However, many folks do use them, and even people who mostly use reusable bags are likely to wind up using a plastic bag every now and then. What, then, to do with those bags after they carry items home from the store? The best thing to do is to reuse them for something.

Perhaps one of the best ways to reuse a plastic bag is to create bedrolls for homeless people with them, and Sarah Catlett and a team of other friends and volunteers recently were able to make 75 of them in just five months.

Email newsletter signup

The plastic bags are converted to “plarn,” or plastic yarn, by cutting them and knotting the loops together to form a single strand. The strands of plastic can then be crocheted or knitted together as one would do with yarn.

It takes between 500 and 700 plastic bags to construct a sleeping mat that’s 2.5 feet wide by 6 feet long, along with straps to conveniently tie up and carry the mat.

Catlett was looking for a community service project earlier this year and stumbled upon the process of making bedrolls from plastic bags. With her friend, Betty Michael, as well as a number of volunteers from Lake Prince Woods and three Girl Scouts from Troop 357, the group made about 75 bedrolls throughout the summer and early fall. They recently donated them to the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk to be distributed to those experiencing homelessness.

The project is still going on, and those who have bags or time to donate can contact Catlett at

We can’t think of a better way to reuse plastic bags. This project not only keeps them out of the waterways and landfills but also puts them to good use.