Owen Atseff

More stories from Owen Atseff


In November and December 2021, Downers Grove South is hosting a plastic bag drive that will result in the creation of PLARN. PLARN is yarn that is spun out of plastic bags and turned into blankets. DGS with the help of its students and staff will be looking to supply homeless shelters with these blankets.

DGS has been involved with PLARN for about 8 years and looks forward to continuing this process this December.

Leading the way for this action is Matthew Quatman, Math Teacher, who has been in charge in the past. He speaks on the benefits of the program.

“Honestly everyone benefits from the situation. Our students get a warm fuzzy feeling for donating and helping out the community and bettering the environment. Our seniors get an activity that they find worthwhile and something they enjoy doing and lastly those in need get a mattress/blanket that they can use to battle the cold weather of Illinois,” said Quatman.

The process is an assembly line of people turning the plastic into blankets. Quatman elaborates on this process.

“When someone turns in a bag it goes through a process of our students cutting it into PLARN rings and then we turn it into Klaeren rope which then gets rolled into a PLARN bomb and then seniors crochet it into a PLARN blanket,” said Quatman.

Senior Olivia Bifulco, club member, speaks on the experience as a whole.

“The positive aspect about the project is that it gets rid of a lot of bad waste and turns it into something good. It’s very easy and rewarding,” said Bifulco.

On top of being a good experience, it’s also removes unused plastic bags from the environment which is a positive for the Earth. Speaking to this impact is Kathleen Troyer, AP environmental teacher.

“I think the PLARN project is a great way to reuse a material that is, essentially, landfill bound. Cheap plastic bags have limited reuse ability, they don’t recycle very well and have a much larger carbon footprint than most people think. Ideally, we as a society would find other ways to bring our goods home from a store, there was a bit push to bring reusable bags to stores, but with the surge of COVID that has greatly diminished. ” said Troyer.

The stations to turn in one’s unwanted plastic bags are located at the entrances of the DGS building.