San Diego

Teen Turning Plastic Bags Into Sleeping Mats for Homeless

Solana Beach teen Delaney How is trying to change the world one plastic bag at a time, using them to make mats for homeless people to sleep on.

Surrounded by a box full of various types of plastic from bags to large bubble wrap, How showed how she folds bags in half, twice, cuts off the handles and base, then starts cutting two inch strips that can be crocheted into a mat to sleep on.

"It's always been kind of hard for me to see people sitting on the streets who are homeless. I've always found it so amazing and uplifting to put a smile on their face, whether it's saying hi or doing something like this and giving them mats," How said.

How’s endeavor is part of her Girl Scouts Silver Award community project. With a little bit of inspiration from a picture of a mat her father sent her, she decided to tie together her concern for the homeless and the environment.

“That's why plastic stood out to me, because they're hurting our environment and sea life around us,” she said.

How’s family says she’s always been into textiles, making magic with her hands, looming and felting.

In fact, one of her nicknames is the “Little Maker” and the Earl Warren Middle School 8th grader even makes her own lip balms.

How already has boxes of bags, some of which have been made into spools, ready to be made into mats.

According to the volunteer organization Orphan Grain Train, which also makes plastic mats and delivers them to disaster areas, each 6-foot-long bed takes between 500 and 700 bags to make.

That’s one reason How is hoping the community will send her more materials.

“I just know I’m making a difference in our world. And I’m changing it whether it’s little or not, it’s still a change,” she said.

If you'd like to donate any kind of plastic to How’s cause, send her an email at

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