Repurposing Plastic for Those in Need

Ashley Hall
Marketing Coordinator

Angel Perry, Welcome Desk Associate at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes practices sustainability in a big way. Her story of giving back is an inspiration to all of us, and hopefully all of you!

What if we told you that single-use plastics could be turned into something meaningful? Angel Perry has been teaching herself how to turn single-use plastic bags into something much more. Her journey of weaving plastic bags into useful items began at a young age with her growing love for the environment. In an effort to to figure out new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle everyday products, Angel took a simple hobby and turned it into something much more impactful for the community.

In January 2020, Cuyahoga County banned plastic bags – a great move for the health of the environment, as plastic bags pollute our waterways and environment, often becoming stuck in trees and breaking down into microplastics, causing harm to wildlife. Angel saw that there was a better use for single-use plastic bags than sitting in our closets and under sinks – CROCHETING! Plastic bag crocheting, called plarning, was her first endeavor. Angel was inspired by the video posted below of Ohio women making sleeping mats for inmates.

While a single sleeping mat can take her a few months to make, Angel is able to make sturdy, crocheted plastic reusable bags out of plastic single-use bags in a few hours time.

“These projects mean so much more to me than just being able to crochet. My passion with these projects comes from the ability to take this material that would have normally been thrown out to pollute our waterways or land. And being able to turn that around and give them a second life is what makes this project that more meaningful for me.”

Angel hasn’t made many yet, but hopes to contribute her mats to shelters when she is able to make enough. Want to make your own items out of plarn? Learn how here:


Basic Crochet Sleep Mat Recipe


Approx 58 plastic bags or 504 yards of plarn
Size 12 mm crochet hook

Crochet a 24″/61 cm chain, plus 2.
Hdc (half double crochet) in 3rd chain from hook and to end.
Chain 2, hdc in next stitch and to end.
Repeat Step 4, until mat measures 72″/183 cm from edge.
Fasten off.
Weave in ends.


If you would like to contribute to Angel’s cause, you can drop off single-use plastic bags at the Welcome Desk at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes during open hours.