CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Recycling plastic bags not only helps the environment, but provides comfort for the homeless here in western Massachusetts. Plastic bags are processed in balls of “Plarn,” or plastic yarn.

Volunteers at the Chicopee Senior Center then crochet and knit the plarn into sturdy mats that are donated to the needy. Elaine Scott and her volunteers can spend up to 80 hours working on just one six foot long mat.

“It may take a thousand bags to make a mat,” Elaine told 22News, “and at least a thousand by the time you cut them up. It takes probably 50 balls of plarn, they call it.”

More than a dozen mats were given out to the homeless at Lorraine’s Kitchen in Chicopee Wednesday afternoon. They also conducted a memorial service for homeless men and women who died during the past year.