A Fun, Easy Craft that Will Reduce Your Plastic Bag Use

Making “plarn” or plastic yarn can transform an environmental mess into useful, beautiful things.

by
Posted in , Jan 16, 2020

Creative uses for plastic bags

Single-use plastic bags are harder than we might think to banish from our daily lives. Even if we bring bags into the grocery store, we’re still likely to gather produce in plastic sacks, plus pick up a loaf of bread, frozen vegetables or any number of other items that are kept fresh inside plastic bags.

If you’re like me, you have a bag full of these plastic bags stashed somewhere in your pantry or garage. These can come in handy when you need to transport something and don’t want to bring a new bag into the world. But each of us can and should do more, at a time when oceanic scientists tell us that as many as 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces are currently floating in the open ocean. Though these plastics do degrade, they do not biodegrade—they are here to stay.

My town’s cultural council has partnered with an artist-in-residence who is teaching us as a community to collect single-use plastic bags and create “plarn,” or plastic yarn with them. The plarn can be crocheted into artistic sculptures….but also into highly practical items like sleeping mats for the homeless, and, in a delicious twist, shopping bags.

Plarn is easy and fun to make. Here’s how.

Simply take a clean plastic bag and smooth it out flat. Fold it the long way in half and in half again. Cut off any handles plus the seam along the bottom of the bag—you should have a tube-shaped object in front of you. Now cut the tube into one-inch strips, each of which is a loop. When you’ve cut a pile of loops, link them end-to-end as you would with rubber bands. You can watch a 2-minute video like this one for easy-to-follow instructions.

Once you’ve created yarn, you can get out your crochet hook! You can make shopping bags, sleeping mats, rugs and other decorative treasures

A craft project that can help protect the oceans? I’m on board. Are you?

View Comments