People view the world in different ways. Some people are overwhelmed by all of Earth and society’s problems –deforestation, plastic pollution, homelessness – and can’t even begin to fathom how they can tackle these massive problems. Others see the same issues and realize that the best thing one can do is to simply start helping. Whether it’s something small like always remembering to carry around a tote bag for unexpected purchases or something larger like creating and selling your own plastic creations, these people know that even small actions can add up and make a big difference.

This is the philosophy employed by a church group in Tennessee who has turned over 10,000 plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. The women, who refer to themselves as the “Bag Ladies” meet every Thursday morning and promptly get to work cutting plastic bags to create “plarn,” or plastic yarn, with which they make sleeping mats for the homeless!

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Not only is this an incredibly kind thing to do for homeless people, but it’s also rerouting plastic that would likely end up in landfills, and eventually the ocean, to a much better place. Every year around 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans and scientists even estimate that this influx of plastic, paired with rampant rates of overfishing, will lead to a scenario where there is effectively more plastic in the ocean than fish. Considering these alarming statistics, these women are definitely doing something important not only for their community, but for the wellbeing of our oceans, and in turn, the planet.

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According to 66-year-old Janice Akin, one of the original “Bag Ladies” members, since the ladies first came together in January 2015, they have made more than 160 mats from more than 10,000 discarded plastic bags. “Right now, we would just love for more people to come join us or for more people to start their own groups wherever they are,” Akin shared with ABC News. “Our little ladies group can only do so much, but if more get involved, imagine the change we could make.” We totally agree, Janice! We all are capable of making a huge difference in the world, simply by choosing to get involved. We can all find small ways to replace plastic in our individual lives or start a group like the “Bag Ladies.” The world is definitely brimming with problems, but whether or not they’re solvable is a matter of perspective!

To get started reducing plastic in your own life, join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign. 

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

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All image source: ABCNews