Alyssa Magalong, also known as Miss Colorado Earth 2020, has come up with a creative way to reuse plastic bags as one of her service projects for her year as a title holder. She said growing up, she learned from her family not to waste things and to always recycle, a practice she continues to live by even today. “I think that’s what’s great about (Miss USA Earth) is that it’s made me really think about what I’ve already been doing and what I didn’t quite think about,” Magalong said. “I get to talk to people who may not recycle, or know things people can do at home.”

The process began when quarantine happened earlier this year, and she started to find items around her house she could reuse. “I started with taking an old shirt and making it a repurposed scarf, and how to take recyclable bottles and make personalized vases,” Magalong said. “I was looking at what I could do at home, and sharing it on social media, because I knew other people were home too so they were probably looking for something to do.”

The projects then developed into how she could crochet mats, and what that would be like if she used plastic bags, creating “plarn” or plastic yarn. “I ended up teaching myself how to crochet and then wanting to think bigger, I ended up talking to someone who did a similar project,” Magalong said. From there, she began making the mats. “It takes about 500 to 600 bags a mat,” Magalong said. “It takes about two weeks to complete one mat. Once you get the bags, you have to process them, which I would say takes the longest because it’s the way you have to fold and cut the bags.”

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Author: Kristina Pritchett, Colorado Hometown Weekly
Image: Matthew Jonas, Colorado Hometown Weekly