Woman Uses Crisp Packets To Help The Homeless Stay Warm And Dry

by : Emily Brown on : 07 Mar 2020 12:50
Woman Uses Crisp Packets To Help The Homeless Stay Warm And DryWoman Uses Crisp Packets To Help The Homeless Stay Warm And DryCrisp Packet Project/Facebook

Volunteers across the UK have been putting old crisp packets to good use by ironing them together to create waterproof sleeping bag covers for the homeless. 


Brits love crisps; they’re the perfect partner to a sandwich and an ideal Meal Deal snack, but for every packet of crisps eaten, there’s a plastic bag going to waste.

Pen Huston, from Hastings, East Sussex, has been travelling the country with the Crisp Packet Project and encouraging volunteers to help recycle those bags for the benefit of homeless people.

Old crisp packets can be used to create watertight ‘bivi bags’ in which homeless people can store sleeping bags and prevent them from getting wet in the rain, in turn making them usable and effective for longer. They can also be used to create sheets to help those sleeping on the streets stay warm.


The used packets are washed out and cut open before being ironed together, with about 150 packets being used to create each bivi bag.

As well as creating items useful for the homeless, the Crisp Packet Project prevents harmful plastic waste from clogging up the environment.

Speaking about the project to BBC News, Pen said:

The whole thing about life is if you’ve got nothing, you can make something out of nothing.

Vicky Wright, from Plastic Free Middlesborough, added:

You’d be amazed at how good the quality is when they’re actually done because the way that crisp packets work, they naturally kind of fuse to any material, so it ends up being something that’s going to be really durable.

It’s definitely going to be able to save lives.


Pen launched the Crisp Packet Project last year, after volunteering with homelessness charity Surviving The Streets. She explained the charity didn’t have enough money to purchase enough bivi bags for those in need, so she came up with the idea to use crisp packets to create her own, Deadline News reports.

She said:

When I volunteered with Surviving the Streets there were never enough bags but it costs about £5 or £6 per bivi bag and we just couldn’t afford to buy everyone one.

I started off making weave mats for the homeless out of crisp packets and then I was lying awake one night thinking about it. I’ve seen people doing lots of things with crisp packets, but not bivi bags.

I started to wonder, ‘Well could I make like a giant crisp packet?’ because they’re waterproof and well insulated.

Pen includes instructions on how to make crisp packet bivi bags on her website, The Art Shack, where she explains all crisp packets need to be washed and dried before being put to use. She advises using a roll of baking paper to place on top of the packets before ironing, and encourages makers to wear masks and make the bags in well ventilated areas.

Alternatively, Pen is appealing for washed crisp packets through her Facebook page Crisp Packet Project.

The project is an incredible way to help those in need while also helping the environment. Amazing!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Life, Crisp Packet Project, Crisp Packets, homeless, plastic waste


BBC News and 2 others
  1. BBC News

    Middlesbrough group uses crisp packets to help homeless

  2. Deadline News

    Homelessness volunteer makes sleeping bag covers out of crisp packets

  3. The Crisp Packet Project/Facebook