Despite persistent problems such as garbage and poverty, Eradajere Oleita believes she may have a partial solution to combat that.
That solution is The Chip Bag Project. Rather than throwing away empty chips bags into the trash, the 26-year-old student and environmentalist from Detroit beseech citizens in the State to donate them to her. She then turns them into sleeping bags for the homeless.
Anyone can do this in two locations in Detroit, Doritos, Lay’s, and other snackers leave their empty bags for Oleita to collect at a print shop and a clothing store.
As per the RD report, the chip bags are first sanitized in hot soapy water, then sliced open, laid flat, and ironed together. The insides are lined with padding and liners from old coats.
Depending on whether they are single-serve or family-size, sleeping bags take around 150 to 300 chip bags to sew.
Oleita told the Detroit News that the sleeping bag is “waterproof, lightweight, and easy to carry around.”
Since the Chip Bag Project began in 2020, more than 800,000 chip bags have been collected, and 110 sleeping bags have been created as of December of last year.
Purchasing new sleeping bags would be simpler if the money were raised. However, Oleita and her fellow volunteers are only halfway there.
Over the years, environmental injustice and poverty go hand in hand often, which is a powerful reminder.
“We are dedicated to making an impact not only socially, but environmentally,” she said.
With that, Oleita’s project serves as the symbolic value of recycling bags that would otherwise end up in the trash and helping the homeless.
In Oleita’s own words: “I think it’s time to show connections between all of these issues.”