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Upcycling plastic bags into sleeping mats

 
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a woman shows how she makes sleeping roles for people sleeping rough.  It takes five to seven hundred plastic bags to make one mat.  That's a lot of plastic kept out of the landfill.  



Apparently, this goes on the ground, under the blankets to insulate the sleeper from the cold.

More detailed instructions for making a bed roll form plastic bags.



And a totally different method using a frame loom.



I wonder if this method of weaving would be more comfortable
 
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I have thought about doing this for camping. Many backpackers carry inflatable or foam sleeping pads for ground insulation and a bit of cushion. My foam one has been squished by excessive use. I also used a foam mattress topper in the bed of my pickup when living in it (until a camper near me bought an actual twin mattress to use in his tent, which he was throwing away at the end of his two-day camping trip (!!!), which I promptly salvaged). Several of these plarn pads stacked and stitched together at the edges would make a fine, mold-resistant mattress that is easy to hose down periodically.

 
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That's a lot of plastic kept out of the landfill.  



I think it is a temporary solution...the mat itself still ends up in the landfill eventually or disintegrated into tiny bits on the street?

 
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Judith Browning wrote:

That's a lot of plastic kept out of the landfill.  



I think it is a temporary solution...the mat itself still ends up in the landfill eventually or disintegrated into tiny bits on the street?



Definitely a stepping stone towards a better way.  Plastic bags are now banned in many of the municipalities where I live which is a big step towards reducing this problem.


The new plastic bags with bio-plastic content disintegrate much faster than the old ones, so I suspect one of these made today wouldn't last as long as the originals.  

What I really like about this is the technique.  These materials are being used in ways that we don't normally think about.  Imagine taking these techniques and applying them to other waste streams to help people gain awareness.  
 
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These materials are being used in ways that we don't normally think about.  Imagine taking these techniques and applying them to other waste streams to help people gain awareness.  



I like the idea of permanently  diverting waste from land fills very much.  I think that most non recyclable/non compostable material will still end up in a land fill at the end of it's useful upcycled lifespan and in the meantime is likely to contaminate the landscape with it's tiny particles of plastic residue.

I do this myself...I buy blinds at the thrift store and use them to write on and mark plants.  They are back to being 'trash' when I'm done with them.  
I used to have others save one quart yogurt containers for my plants for market...once I found out that this actually makes them trash rather than something that can be recycled I stopped.

On the other hand, I love the idea of upcycling natural materials from thrift stores.  An all wool or cotton rug is compostable with time.

I guess I worry that any awareness many folks would gain from upcycling non recyclables would have to do with how cute that Clorox bottle doll looked (for example) and not thoughts of using less plastic.





 
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I just heard about a high school group in Colorado helping with this.

Article:  https://shareably.net/high-school-students-make-plarn-blankets-homeless/



In the L.A. California area, I know someone volunteering at a homeless soup kitchen. She told me the homeless are sleeping in rat-infested bedding because the rats have become such a huge problem in L.A. And she was concerned it was about to get worse because the rat poison that was being used is now banned.

Even if the sleeping mats are temporary, or wear out, I think the idea of interrupting the rat tainted bedding even a little bit is a smart thing. And a second use before the trash (or even recycling) is a smart thing IMHO, too.

 
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I make my living from the waste stream and have never seen anyting truly useful being made from recycled plastic. I believe these mats will find their way into the storm sewers in little flecks. Even the picnic tables and Plastic Lumber made from recycled plastic, is  just solid waste disposal in a form that people will accept.

I was at one of those stores that raises money for poor people who work in co-ops, in third world countries. They had hats, shopping baskets and serving trays made of woven plastic. All of it junk.

Those same countries have elephant grass and bamboo which could be woven into very durable items that are completely biodegradable. I met woman in Kenya who was making elephant grass shopping baskets. The country had banned disposable plastic bags about 14 months earlier. This made it possible for her to do a brisk business selling a totally green product that grows on her family's land.

I don't think we should do anything to encourage the production of things like this from old plastic. It's a Band-Aid solution at best and things like this might help people to justify the use of single-use plastics.
.....
The items below are made from elephant grass.
Elephant-grass-basket-1.png
Elephant grass basket 1
Elephant grass basket 1
Elephant-grass-basket-2.png
Elephant grass basket 2
Elephant grass basket 2
Elephant-grass-basket-3.png
Elephant grass basket 3
Elephant grass basket 3
 
We've gotta get close enough to that helmet to pull the choke on it's engine and flood his mind! Or, we could just read this tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
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