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Plastic bags transformed into sleeping pads for the homeless

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - Every year, millions of plastic bags go to waste, but one organization is working to change that…one bag at a time.

Many people may not even think twice when they throw away a plastic bag, but for those without a home it means so much more.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, just ask Russ McElory.

"I really appreciate having a nice warm bed,” said McElroy.

A homeless man who's grateful for any comfort from the community.

"It means you're   off the ground and you're not muddy."

Kaitlyn McLean has always wanted to help people like Russ.

"I've always been really intrigued to help the homeless, but wasn't sure how to do it,” said McLean, director and founder of Bags to Beds.

She started an organization called Bags to Beds.

"It's a very simple pattern. It's just 3 feet by 6 feet of a single stitch crochet, so if you know how to crochet, it's the easiest way," said McLean. 

Volunteers crochet together 400 to 500 plastic bags to make a mat for the homeless.

"I mean it takes time, energy and love to put into that bag, but then you can give it back to someone who can then have a nicer sleep at night, but that type of giving is so minimal as far as cost. Anyone can do it,” said Kortney Wall, volunteer.

This labor of love doesn't just help the homeless, it also helps the environment. So far, they've saved 15,000 bags from ending up in our landfills.

"By taking the time to make something useful and make something that shows you care, you're also helping your environment, reducing waste and reducing the guilt you feel by always wasting those bags at the grocery store,” said McLean. 

Volunteers say this is one way they know they're truly helping.

"We know that as soon as we give that bag away, it'll bring a lot of happiness to someone else, as well as your own," said Wall. 

Organizers say they've made 10 bags so far this year and hope to make 100 by October. If you would like to get involved, visit Bags to Beds on Facebook for more information. 

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