TN group recycles plastic bags into mats for homeless

WATCH: 'Bag Lady' time lapse

UNION CITY, TN (KFVS) - A group of women in Union City, Tennessee is re-purposing plastic bags to help a group of people often overlooked.

The women call themselves the "bag ladies" and they're turning plastic bags into mats for the homeless.

"It's a Labor of Love that's what it is... a Labor of Love," bag lady Peggy Robinson said.

A plastic bag is taking on a greater purpose for one group wanting to change lives.

"We look forward to it that's the whole thing, we look forward to our Thursday morning they start saying are we going to work Thursday," Robinson said.

Because Thursday is when the transformation takes place, here's what they do.

They sort and straighten bags, cut them, then tie them together.

After that then it's onto making the "plarn," their coined term for plastic yarn.

Hours of intricate handiwork weaving the mats together makes for a team effort, from start to finish.

"If it makes a difference in someone's life somewhere if they don't have to lay on the cold hard ground and the plastic keeps the wet away from them," Linda Bunch said. "So it's just a wonderful, wonderful thing."

The rewards outweigh the early mornings and time spent.

Coordinator for Mississippi River Ministry Randy Pool then picks up the mats and puts them in the hands of people who need them.

"I think the greatest impact is coming into seeing that the people who receive these suddenly no longer feel forgotten," Pool said. "That it's easy to become invisible when you're homeless and for people to walk past you."

But these women work to make them feel seen.

It's a passion that's changed the way they look at something so disposable.

"My husband has been taught right away that you straighten these and put them in a certain place so that next Thursday morning I take them to bag ladies," Patty Arnold said.

A group with nimble fingers and tenders hearts say they're in it so that "we all have a place to lay our head."

"The feeling that you get from knowing what little something that you did is making a difference that just makes you feel good," Linda Bunch said.

In the near future, the group said it plans on making pillows with the scraps from making the blankets and giving them away with a blanket.

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