Combining Social and Environmental Issues by Creating Sleeping Mats made from Plastic Bags!

With help from the BC community, the Office of Sustainability and the RISE Learning Institute are leading an exciting service learning project that combines social justice and sustainability issues.

These two issues are both addressed by taking plastic bags out of the landfill and transforming them into sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness. The mats provide people with a layer of protection from the cold wet ground and are created by turning plastic bags into plarn (plastic yarn) that is then crocheted together. Mats are water resistant and mold resistant and take 500-700 plastic bags to make.

So far, over 150 students have participated in this project and over 2000 plastic bags have been collected by the BC community. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

At this time, we will no longer be accepting plastic bags, as we have enough to create several bed mats that will be donated.

…But don’t worry, there are still ways to get involved! Join our monthly crochet circle, where students, faculty, and staff can come and learn how to crochet these sleeping mats or help make the plastic yarn that creates them. Check back on our website for the next event announcement or look for it in the FYI Digest email.

A special thanks to The Nifty Knitter in Issaquah for their donation of crochet hooks and expert advice!

Plarn Sleeping Mat
Paticipants of Earth Week’s “Plarn Making” event holding up an almost completed sleeping mat made from plastic bags!

For any questions regarding the project, please email

Last Updated May 31, 2018