Plarn Workshop

Conservation Action: Plarn Workshop

Give new life to your plastic shopping bags with plarn! Plarn (plastic + yarn) is a fun project material that can be used in your knitting and crochet projects. Plastic shopping bags typically have a useful lifespan of about 15 minutes, but they last in our landfills for centuries and cannot be recycled in your bins at home (they have to back to the grocery store). Reusing these bags by weaving them into anything from floor mats to reusable bags is a fun way to decrease the amount of plastic bags going into our landfills.

On Saturday, August 20 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., the Greensboro Science Center will be hosting a plarn weaving workshop. Tori Carle, the City of Greensboro’s recycling educator, will be on site to teach you how to repurpose your plastic shopping bags for knitting and crochet projects.

What to bring:

  • at least 10 plastic shopping bags
  • Q sized crochet hook (16mm)

Need a project idea?

The City of Greensboro is collecting sleeping mats made from plarn to distribute to the homeless in our community who need portable sleeping surfaces that will provide a barrier for those who sleep on the ground. These mats will be distributed by Greensboro police offers and the Interactive Resource Center. The City’s goal is to collect 100 plarn bed rolls by October 1. Learn more about Operation Bed Roll on the City of Greensboro’s website:

Be sure to join us on Saturday, August 20 to learn a neat new skill with a cool conservation edge!

Earth Day Efforts

Every day is Earth Day at the Greensboro Science Center! But, on this official Earth Day, we thought we’d highlight just a few of the Center’s conservation efforts.

Garden with Zoo Doo Compost

Garden with Zoo Doo Compost

Recycling is a high priority with our staff. Like many good citizens, we recycle common items such as cans, bottles, paper, plastic and glass. We also recycle our used batteries, printer cartridges and scrap metal. On a more non-traditional note, we have the unique opportunity to recycle animal feces into “zoo doo” compost for use around the facility. The picture on the left shows a garden planted recently using this special compost.

If you’ve visited our Maned Wolf Exhibit, you’ve probably seen the signs describing its green construction. Much of the building is made from recycled or salvaged materials to keep these items out of our landfills. We also used local sources as much as possible to minimize our carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of travel needed to transport materials. You may also notice the roof of the building contains PVC panels. Solar power is used to provide electricity for power and hot water in this exhibit.

Maned Wolf Exhibit Sign

Maned Wolf Exhibit Sign

In other exhibits where solar power isn’t currently an option, we are trying to lower our energy consumption by setting our thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer, turning off lights when we leave back offices and putting certain lights on timers.

Our staff is also very big on re-using as much as possible. We are also constantly and re-purposing a variety of items for craft and camp supplies as well as for animal exhibit furniture and enrichment. We’re also trying to inspire others to reduce, reuse and recycle by sharing ways to repurpose common household items on our “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” pinterest board.