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Montgomery County High School Students Turning Plastic Bags Into Sleeping Mats

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) – A group of Montgomery County high school students are taking trash and making something useful. It's a painstaking process, but to them, it's worth it.

It all starts with a plastic bag.

For months, a team of twisters at Hatboro-Horsham High School has been transforming thousands of donated plastic bags.

"We cut the middle into three strips. We knot it together and it make this one big, long plastic bag. From there, we start weaving and then it soon turns into a sleeping mat," said senior Nancy Gablein.

Nancy has been organizing it through the school's Interact Club.

A few times a week, members spend their free class period making "plarn."

That's plastic yarn, explains junior Zachary Fitzgerald.

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"We take the plarn that they've been working on over there, then we weave it through all the pegs," said Zachary.

The finished mats are donated to a Philadelphia group, Angels in Motion, which gives the mats to people sleeping on the street.

"We start this last year and it's a nice little project that we're doing to help the community," said senior Chris Yoon.

Guidance counselor Marcey Varano explains the 6-foot-long mats can give a little comfort to someone living outside, especially in the winter.

"The mats keep warm and they're also water-resistant," said Varano.

A single mat takes between 500 and 700 bags. It can take a few months to finish one.

Last year, the club made six. This year, the goal is 12.

"It feels amazing that I can bring together all my peers during just our free period and make such a big impact," said Nancy.

If you are a member of the public interested in helping, you can contact Marcey Varano of Hatboro-Horsham High School through email at

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