Conserve: Reuse

Ask your mentor to do a presentation, then click on these links to learn more about reusing at schools.

Reuse Projects

Ideas for sharing student reuse knowledge

  • Have students brainstorm their own upcycling projects
  • Post pictures with captions on your Green Steps school site
  • Submit pictures with captions to the Green Steps Blog and Facebook page

Pizza Box Loom for Plarn (Plastic Bag Yarn)

Materials: 18” pizza box, material to reinforce the box (wood, cardboard or polystyrene strips), pencil, yardstick, scissors, 3” nails, rubber bands and normal size #2 plastic grocery bags.


  1. Reinforce the inside perimeter of your pizza box with strips of wood, cardboard or polystyrene. You can also use cardboard tubes stuffed with used plastic bags.                                                                                                                                    
  2. With a pencil and a ruler draw horizontal and vertical lines through the center of the pizza box. Then align one of the edges of the ruler with your center lines and trace lines against the other edge of the ruler to draw a grid. You will have 14 squares each way. (A tighter grid can be drawn by measuring and marking smaller boxes. This will produce a sturdier mat but may be challenging for children.)
  3. Push one nail into the end of each grid line around the perimeter. This takes a total of fifty-six 3-inch nails, with 2 inches of each nail anchored into the box and reinforcement material and 1 inch sticking up above the box to form a peg. No nail is needed in the four corners of the grid.
  4. Gather 13 normal size #2 plastic grocery bags of one color/6 bags of a second color/7 bags of a third color. Lay each bag flat on a table. Fold each bag in half vertically, aligning the handles. Then fold once more vertically. Cut off the bottom hem and handles. Then open each bag to form a large loop. Reuse the scraps as pillow stuffing or bag and recycle the scraps at a local store.
  5. Stretch 13 loops of alternating colors peg to peg horizontally. Then weave the 13 matching colored loops vertically. Be sure loops are loose on the pegs. Secure loops to pegs with rubber bands.
  6. Finish the edges by pulling the end of one loop through the end of the next to it. Continue looping to form an edge around the mat. Ask someone who has made potholders to show you how or go to and start with Step 9.

You can now:

  • Use your mat as a “sit-upon” in your outdoor classroom or a knee mat in your school garden
  • Lace two together and add a braided handle to make a tote bag
  • Lace two together and stuff with the scraps to make a pillow
  • Lace several together flat to make an appropriate size nap mat for P/K students

Recommended BookOne Plastic Bag: Isatou Cessay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Mironda Paul. Great projects and lesson plans online.