Posted on: March 3, 2020 at 2:59 pm

The only language everyone understands at once, is kindness, a religion that would never find any criticism.


For these hardworking ladies from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, taking care of the homeless is the perfect way to spend their golden years as Nanaimo Harbor City Seniors. They are using single-use plastic bags that would have otherwise been thrown away to crochet tight, water-proof handbags and carry-on sleeping mats for the homeless [1]

This way, they can give back to society while also helping to reduce plastic waste in their environment. It’s a lot better if the plastic is upcycled to a sleeping mat for someone who needs it, rather than ending up polluting the environment in and ocean or landfill somewhere, or worse, stuck in an animal’s throat or wrapped around its neck.


The mats are crocheted to be long, warm, and comfortable for anyone who uses them. Since they can’t personally get every homeless person off the streets, these ladies will do their best to keep them comfortable. If this isn’t true altruism, then we don’t know what is.

How do they do this?

The awesome video was shared by Shaw TV Nanaimo on YouTube [2]. The lovely ladies who dubbed themselves “The Bag Ladies” can be seen working on essential items such as durable tote bags and strong amts.

One of the ladies explained how they learned the technique. “I got the idea off the internet. Some ladies in Australia started doing and I thought it was a wonderful thing.”

They are putting the technique out there for anyone who believes in protecting the less-privileged and also cleaning up the planet. 


If you already know how to crochet, this would be a breeze for you to do. However, crocheting is one of the easiest skills out there and can be learned in 5 minutes.

Materials needed:

  • Dozens of single use plastic bags
  • Large-sized plastic crochet hook
  • A pair of scissors


  1. The first step is to make the plastic yarn which they call “plarn.” Straighten out the bags and fold them up vertically in half. Fold up as many times as needed for the size of the bag to make a small vertical pile.
  2. Using your scissors, cut off the top handles and bottom seams to create open-ended tubes.
  3. Fold the tube in half with one closed end, and stare from the open end to cut out strips. The width of the strips determines the thickness of the mat. Strips from two inches and above are recommended to make the best mats.
  4. Next, you have to roll as many strips as possible to get a large ball of ‘plarn’. Hold two strips at one round end each and loop one through other. Pull the top of the looped strip from underneath itself to create a tight, perfect joint. Loop as many as you can together so you have a steady supply of ‘plarn’. Now roll the long jointed strop into a ball so it’s easier to carry around.
  5. Then you start to crochet the ‘plarn’. The Bag Ladies recommend making the mats 32 to 26 inches so most people would be able to sleep on them.
  6. The ladies also crocheted a long handle at one end of the mat and twp roll-up strips at the bottom. The mat can be rolled up, slung over the shoulder and carried everywhere.

Read: 5th Grader’s Boredom while Visiting Her Mom’s Job Led to $70,000 for the Elderly in Need

They are incredibly lightweight, waterproof, warm and comfy. 

If you do not have crocheting as a handy skill, there’s nothing to worry about. The video below has been highly recommended as one of the best tutorials for beginners. 

Based on cumulative national reports published by Yale Global Online, about 150 million people, 2% of the world’s population is currently living without a place to call home [3]. Housing is expensive and many countries lack low-cost solutions to support low-income earners. According to statistics from The World Counts, 5 trillion plastic bags are produced in the world every year [4]. That’s about 160,000 per second. Therefore, there are millions of homeless people for whom we could upcycle our endless stream of plastic waste while governments work to provide adequate and affordable housing.

The statistics may be overwhelming, but the smallest efforts can also have large ripple effects. The best way to contain the situation is to start doing something and hold onto it. Be consistent. You may be convinced you’re not making a dent, but to your immediate environment, you’re making all the difference in the world. The Bag Ladies got the idea off Australian craft ladies, and someone somewhere will take it up and continue the cycle.  

Keep Reading: Scientist who helped develop new drug for ovarian cancer donates all profits to charity

Bless those amazing ladies.

  1. Admin. How To Crochet Single-Use Plastic Bags Into Sleeping Mats For The Homeless. DIY Ways. Retrieved 28-02-2020
  2. Shaw TV Nanaimo. How To Make Plastic Bag Sleeping Mats (Where You Live). YouTube. Retrieved 28-02-2020
  3. As Cities Grow, So Do the Numbers of Homeless. Yale Global Online. Retrieved 28-02-2020
  4. Admin. How many plastic bags are used each year? The World Counts. Retrieved 28-02-2020
Penelope Wilson
Team Writer
Penelope is a writer and health enthusiast with a B.Arts in Language Studies. She is a deeply spiritual person, a relationship expert, a nutrition freak, and a skin-care maverick.

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