Chip Bags to Blankets: Upcycling in Action for Those in Need

Sep 27, 2022

What would you do with 10,000 empty potato chip bags? Trash them? Find a way to recycle them? Or would you try to transform them into something useful?

For Alyssa, a 12-year-old girl in Wales, the answer was obvious: make blankets.

"I saw on Facebook that people were starting to turn crisp packets into blankets, and thought I'd like to have a go at making them myself," Alyssa told the BBC. 

Since she started in August 2021, Alyssa has made more than 200 blankets. She’s donated all of them to support those in need. Each blanket takes about an hour to make. To start, Alyssa washes empty chip bags and flattens them. Then, in stacks of four, she covers them with parchment paper and irons them. The heat fuses the bags together. Finally, she seals them in place between two thin sheets of plastic. The resulting blanket is lightweight, durable, and warm. The warmth is due to the metallic interiors of the bags, which reflect body heat and insulate the user. 

Alyssa’s efforts are part of an ongoing campaign created by Pen Huston. Huston created a company called the Crisp Packet Project. It runs workshops on how to make the blankets. It also collects donated chip bags for volunteers to use. The process is part of a trend called “upcycling.” Upcycling is the act of using unwanted items to make something of higher value.

For Alyssa and the people who have benefited from her blankets, that value is immeasurable.

Photo from Crisp Packet Project.

Which paragraph develops the reader’s understanding of the idea of “upcycling”? (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. introduction
b. paragraph 4
c. paragraph 5
d. conclusion
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