July 2020   
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Turns out COVID-19 doesn't play nice with this month's  Plastic Free July campaign. While we all try to limit single-use plastics, the need for clean and germ-free bags at checkout has left us all with even more plastic bags than usual!

Fortunately, there is a great reuse idea for all those plastic bags. And it uses a lot of bags while helping those who are experiencing homelessness. Check out our feature article below about plarn and a purposeful use that turns it into sleeping mats.

The pandemic has challenged all of us to find ways to reduce our single-use plastic bags and takeout containers. What are the solutions in your community? Eco Partners would love to work with you to communicate them and all information about your solid waste programs. Please g ive me a call or email me

Keep recycling with purpose!

Elizabeth Roe
Eco Partners
317-450-3346
Congratulations to Heather Siesel, winner of last month's random drawing for  Bag in the Wind by Ted Kooser!

Congratulations go to Heather Siesel, Director of Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District in Columbus, Indiana. In her contest entry, Heather shared how she "chooses to refuse" single-use plastic by taking a Yeti or Nalgene bottle with her for beverages at fast food restaurants. Thanks for sharing this idea with us, Heather!
Finding a purposeful use for plastic bags
Pictured: Mats for a Mission volunteers Maddy Russo and Nancy Nelson Kimbrough using plarn.
plarn: handmade yarn made from plastic grocery bags looped together  (plastic + yarn = plarn)

According to the Earth Day Network, Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags each year. That's about 371 per person! Sadly, only about 10% of them are recycled, so repurposing plastic bags makes a lot of sense.

When volunteers across America saw all these hard-to-recycle, single-use, plastic grocery bags and a large population of people experiencing homelessness in their communities, they made durable, water-resistant, portable sleeping mats for people in need. 

No one seems to know who first came up with the idea of taking used plastic grocery bags, cutting them into strips, looping them together into plastic yarn, or plarn, and then crocheting it to make sleeping mats for people experiencing homelessness, but the idea is brilliant!

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