ROTHESAY, N.B. -- As more municipalities and businesses ban plastic bags, one New Brunswick woman has found a way to go green and give back.

Renee Outhouse has started turning plastic bags into plarn -- plastic yarn -- which she then crochets into sleeping mats for the homeless.

“I do crochet. I make facecloths and face scrubbies and just small things, so I did have a basic understanding of how to crochet,” says the Rothesay business owner. “And for the longest time I’ve been looking for a way to give back, and I’m always looking for something different to do to give back.”

Outhouse is thrilled to have found a project that transforms trash into something to help her community, but giving back in this way takes a lot dedication.

“It’s a labour-intensive process, taking up to 10 hours and more than 200 plastic bags to make a single mat,” she says.

plastic bag mat

Outhouse is crocheting the mats as the Fundy Regional Service Commission prepares to stop accepting plastic bags and plastic wrap for recycling at the beginning of March.

“We are stopping taking them because we no longer have an end market for the plastic bags,” explains Brenda MacCallum, with Fundy Region Solid Waste. “Recycling depends on us having that end market.”

Outhouse hopes to crochet 10 mats. So far, she has finished one mat, and has two others in progress.

In order to reach her goal, she says she needs help from her community.

“If I want to do the 10, which is in the initial goal, I need thousands of bags,” she says. “I really need people to bring them in as much as possible.”

Plastic bags can be donated at Byers Boutique in Rothesay.