Operation bed roll Greensboro recycling program, Transforms plastic grocery bags into “plarn” plastic yarn used to create crocheted sleeping mats for homeless

“Operation Bed Roll: Conserve, Crochet, Care

Operation Bed Roll is a collaboration between Greensboro’s Field Operations and Police departments to keep non-recyclable materials out of our 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 Interactive Resource Center, a non-profit that helps people experiencing homelessness, helped us set a goal of 200 bed rolls per winter.

Operation Bed Roll collected 211 plarn bed rolls during our first year.

Why We’re Doing It

Plarn crafting

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.

How To Help

The City is now seeking crocheters to take on this project. It’s an ideal craft project for church, school groups, or individuals. Here’s everything you need to know to participate.

Plarn crafting

Spread the Word
We need lots of people to help make plarn and crochet (meet some of our partners in plarn here.) If you are not crafty, no worries. Help us make plarn; it’s really easy. You can also be a big help by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Search @GSOGoesGreen and share with your friends.

Learn to Make Plarn
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 this project. Check one out: ”

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