More high school students are using old plastic bags to make sleeping mats for the homeless

So many of these bags wind up littering the streets and threatening our oceans and wildlife.

But all across the country, in states like Michigan, North Carolina, and Indiana, kindhearted high school students have found a brilliant way to reuse and transform plastic bags.

The students you’re about to meet attend Hatboro-Horsham High School in Pennsylvania. Nancy Gablein, a senior, organizes the school’s Interact Club. Several times a week, these members spend their free class periods making “plarn,” or plastic yarn. They twist and tie their way through thousands of donated plastic bags by cutting them into strips, rolling them up and around wooden pegs, and putting their crochet skills to use.

The end result is a 6-foot-long sleeping mat that can provide comfort and warmth to homeless people sleeping on the streets. These mats are also water-resistant, and they help keep bugs away.

One single mat requires from 500 to 700 bags, but to these amazing students, it’s all worth it in the end.