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Recycle or Plarn it

Our world today is packed with plastic. Everything’s wrapped in the stuff, often unnecessarily so. The problem is of course the rubbish and our very poor management of that, but there are some plastic wrapping we can recycle and reuse yet many don’t know.

Go check your bread bags. Here in the UK they can be recycled with plastic bags. Seriously who knew about this? I don’t think anyone knows. I didn’t until I started thinking about reducing and reusing plastic in my crafts. But here’s what’s on the back of my bread bags.IMG_1522140151442

So we CAN recycle if only we know and want to of course. There are plenty other plastic bags with the same message on, so do check if you want to keep some plastic out of landfill.

A super alternative is to turn them into Plarn (plastic yarn) and knit, crochet or weave with them to make all kinds of sturdy and useful things. It makes great strong bags and baskets that last for years and years. And the really great thing is you’ll need loads of bags to make anything. So the impact is potentially massive, not just for your own rubbish reduction but you can collect bags from neighbours and friends, even set something up with a local school or cafe to make a bigger community impact.

Making plarn is really easy. You can use plastic carrier bags too, not just bread bags.

Crocheting with it is, well I’ll be honest, a bit of a chore. It’s hard on your hands and you need a strong hook too. But bare with me here, while I would not recommend it if you have arthritic hands, it’s easily manageable in small bursts.

Now don’t be disheartened. It’s ok, because getting a good supply of bags will take time. So it’s ideal to just make more plarn as you get the bags and create a row or two at a time. To give you an idea of the scale of working with plarn, this is a bag project I just started.

Can you guess how many bread bags I’ve used here?

Eight … yup it’s going to take hundreds  of bags to make a lovely big shopper style bag. But how good will it feel to proudly use this bag knowing it stopped x hundred bread bags going in the bin. Pretty awesome 😀

Fancy giving it a go? My next post is coming shortly on how to make plarn. I’ll link it here. There are lots of instructions by others so just google ‘how to make plarn’ and you can get started right now.

Here’s some ideas for you on what you can make. Most are free patterns.

My fav, how pretty is this bag?

A free download for easy reference for this one and in 2 sizes too:

This next link is to a very talented eco crocheter who has loads of patterns using plarn. Well worth a look around her site. While many of her patterns are paid for, she has plenty free ones too like this one.…

A yarn bowl, we all need one of these!

A reusable gift box or just a practical lidded box to use at home.…

So there’s lots of choice out there, you really can make all manner of things from plarn. You can even just work with your fav patterns with a little adapting. Check out Pinterest and Ravelry for loads more ideas.

Have fun and feel free to share your experiences in the comments.


4 thoughts on “Recycle or Plarn it”

    1. Great 😀 Yes I’m using bread bags. My first attempt was with carrier bags maybe 6 years ago and that dawned on me after I’d made a big ball!!!! But i would love to clear some carrier bags too. They used to say they were degradable with a date. But I haven’t seen any like this for years, possibly since the carrier bag charging was introduced??? Do yours say they degrade? Otherwise how do we know? Thank you xx

      1. I don’t use them anymore as I always take my own cloth bags but I did find a horrible mess of degraded plastic flakes in the bottom of a box of bags a while ago!

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