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Crocheting Plastic Bags Into Beds at Chicago’s Green Festival

May 2, 2012

Green Festival Chicago DIY

There are around 2,900,000 people in Chicago’s city limits with plenty of more visitors. And they all go shopping. Unfortunately for our environment, this means lots of plastic bags. If you look around Chicago you’ll see them everywhere, blowing around in the windy city. If they are not in a tree or a lake, then they probably end up in a landfill degrading slowly over thousands of years. Fortunately for the aesthetics of the Chicago environment, Ruth Werstler exists. This weekend at Chicago’s Green Festival she will be demonstrating how to crochet plastic bags into beds as part of a DIY Workshop called New Life For Old Bags (NLOB).

Since February 1, 2010 Ruth has been collaborating with people from around Chicago to build a community of happiness. They crochet plastic bags into sleeping mats for Chicago’s 93,780 homeless. Homeless are not the only people to gain happiness. The process, like an assembly line, has compatible steps for people of all abilities–senior citizens, dementia patients, and healthy volunteers–who all benefit from a sense of accomplishment and benevolence. The process can be done at home; let me show you in 10 simple steps:

Step 1 – Collect plastic bags

Plastic bag recycling Chicago

Step 2 – Fold bags

Step 3 – Cut bags into strips

Step 4 – Organize strips

Plastic bag recycling chicago

Step 5 – Open strips

Step 6 – Tie strips together

Step 7 – Roll into a ball of “plarn” (plastic yarn)

plastic bag recycling chicago

 Step 8 – Begin crocheting

plastic bag recycling chicago

Step 9 – Finish

Step 10 – Hand out to the homeless for sleeping

Plastic bag recycling chicago

Since it’s inception, here are some stats:

Learn how to create plarn at Chicago’s Green Festival this weekend at Navy Pier or watch the YouTube video below. Also, you can volunteer on Tuesdays, 1-4pm, at Bethesda Home (email Ruth: Thank you for reading, stay happy, letUbeU!

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