Catoosa UGA Extension, 4-H Launch Bags-To-Beds Drive To Assist Local Humanitarian Relief Efforts

  • Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Catoosa County UGA Extension and 4-H launched a Bags-to-Beds drive to collect plastic grocery bags that will be recycled and made into PLARN (plastic yarn), which will be used to create sleep mats for people experiencing homelessness.

“We encourage our neighbors to not throw away their plastic grocery bags, and instead bring them to us so that they can be used to help make people experiencing homelessness more comfortable,” said Catoosa County UGA Extension 4-H Program Assistant Roberta Pepper. “We are proud to be a part of the effort by 4H and university extensions across the country to reduce plastic waste and support humanitarian relief.”

After the bags are turned into PLARN, the material is used to create six-foot long sleep mats that are easily rolled and carried. Numerous articles and videos about PLARN mats are available online by searching for phrases like “PLARN mats,” “sleeping mats” and “mercy mats.”

Officials said, "The average household takes home about 1,500 bags each year, but only about 5 percent of these bags are recycled. Most end up in landfills or are blown by the wind into trees, roadside ditches, neighborhoods and waterways. The litter poses serious risks to animals and breaks down into microplastics that leach chemicals into soil, water and eventually into humans and animals.

People can bring their plastic grocery bags to the Catoosa County UGA Extension office at 43 Maple St. in Ringgold, next to the Catoosa County Courthouse. More information is available by calling 706-935-4211.

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