HELPING OUT: Chris and Ian Robins and Trish Reilly weaving the mats.
HELPING OUT: Chris and Ian Robins and Trish Reilly weaving the mats. Liana Walker

The couple weaving plastic bags into mats for the homeless

GRANITE BELT residents Chris and Ian Robins have been transforming plastic bags into mats to help people sleeping rough.

The mats, made using a loom which weaves plastic bags, are designed to keep people dry from moisture on the ground.

Mrs Robins said they were inspired by a group in Melbourne which also made the mats.

"We went down and saw them and they showed us what to do," she said.

"As far as I know, we're the only ones in Queensland making woven mats for the homeless."

The Robins, along with six to eight volunteers, gather each Wednesday at their home at The Summit to spend five hours weaving.

Each mat consists of 700 plastic bags and is about 1.8m x 0.75m and takes from 10-12 hours to complete.

 

Chris and Ian Robins with their woven mat. The mats are approximately 1.8m x 0.75m made from 700 plastic bags.
Chris and Ian Robins with their woven mat. The mats are approximately 1.8m x 0.75m made from 700 plastic bags. Liana Walker

The mats are then donated to charities throughout Queensland.

"We've given out quite a lot in Brisbane, probably 30 at a street feed," Mrs Robins said.

"We're taking some up to Toowoomba to a street feed up there and we've left some at Warwick."

Mrs Robins said locally they had not found anyone sleeping on the streets however mats are available to anyone in need in the region.

They have competed 45 mats since they started in November.

"Every Wednesday we're finishing another one," Mrs Robins said.

"Last Wednesday we finished two and this week we've almost finished another one."

Mrs Robins said she discovered the mats after researching ways to reuse plastic bags to help other people, learning the mats were big in America and Melbourne.

The couple currently has half a shed of plastic bags donated by members of the community.

Mrs Robins said they would continue to find a way to make the mats even after single-use plastic bags were banned in Queensland.

"We'll have to start on bread bags, we might be able to use rolls of plastic bags and start using them," she said.

"We will continue doing them one way or another... we don't want any to go into landfill either."