TORI CARLE-SPINNING ‘PLARNS’
Recycling education specialist Tori Carle is known for being the founder of Operation Bed Roll.
Operation Bed Roll is a collaborative project of the Greensboro Police Department and Greensboro Field Operations.
Using plastic bags, Carle has found a way to make plastic yarn and crochet the “plarn” into sleeping mats for Greensboro’s homeless.
“Plastic bags are one of my least favorite things in the world,” said Carle. “They clog up our city streets, our waterways.
“I also found out that plastic bags are not recyclable when I started this job, which is something I didn’t know before.”
While her friends may know her as the “token eco nut,” Carle’s passion has led to big change in Greensboro. Today she leads workshops to anyone curious on how to make plarn and crochet it into sleeping mats to donate to the homeless.
Carle got many people into the project with what she called “guerilla marketing.”
“I would take it (plarn) and I would sit in a coffee shop or doctor’s office and crochet,” Carle said. “So you’re sitting there crocheting and people turn around and are like ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ So I would talk to them about it and they are like ‘Oh that’s cool’ and I would give them a business card….
“Or they would tell me to contact so and so at this place or ‘You need to come to my church’ or ‘You need to teach my girl or boy scouts.”
Carle formed an alliance with the Greensboro Police Department and the Interactive Resource Center to help distribute the beds to the homeless. Their goal is to get 100 bed rolls by Oct. 1 and 100 more by Jan. 1.
Unlike regular blankets, the plarn bed rolls do not attract bed bugs or lice.
“This is going to be something to help keep them warm but also define their space,” said Carle. “Give them a cushy surface to sleep on and they can take it, roll it up, and take it with them. It’s kind of a good all-around, multi-use tool for somebody that is experiencing homelessness.”
Carle hopes that this operation will become a yearly initiative and that the idea spreads to other areas. Right now all plarn and bedrolls can be dropped off at local libraries and she picks them up every week.
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