There are some bits of rubbish that are definitely harder than others to keep out of landfill. I’ve made bunting out of shopping bags, garden ties out of plastic bottles and all sorts of things out of scrap paper. Until now I’ve never really given the humble crisp packet a lot of thought.
That’s all changed. I am so excited to announce that At Birkhill House is now a Crisp Packet Project (CPP) hub! But what exactly does that mean?
Pen Huston is an artist based at the Art Shack in Hastings, who was volunteering at a local homelessness charity called Surviving the Streets UK. They were chronically short of bivvy bags, the waterproof shells that rough sleepers use to keep their sleeping bags dry. One night, Pen woke up in the middle of the night wondering what it would be like to sleep inside a crisp packet…
Pen began collecting, cleaning, sorting and fusing crisp packets together, and the crisp packet bivvy bag was created. It’s inspired, a way to reuse crisp packets and discarded plastic wrappers to keep people warm and dry. The Crisp Packet Project now deals with thousands of crisp packets every week. Their website offers inspiring and instructional videos on every stage of bivvy bag construction.
If you want to know more about Pen or the Crisp Packet Project, you can watch the following video or visit www.crisppacketproject.com.
My friend Claire Brennan heard about Pen’s work and thought of me. We both found Pen’s creativity and vision so inspirational that we decided we had to make a CPP hub here At Birkhill House. Claire is sourcing and collecting materials, organising volunteers and keeping up with the admin. I’m working on the creative and technical side. We’ve teamed up with Street Pastors Edinburgh, who will get our finished products out to those who need them.
Would you like to help? They need as many bags and blankets as we can supply, and there are a number of ways you can get involved to support the project. Each bivvy bag uses about 150 crisp packets, cut open and fused into strips. These strips are joined into panels 5 packets high by 15 packets wide, which are then fused onto a waterproof plastic backing. We need help with every stage, from collecting crisp packets, cleaning and cutting them open, to ironing them into strips and then into larger panels. You could do this at work, at home or in the workshops here At Birkhill House. You can read more about each stage on the information sheet below.
Please help us make as many bivvy bags and blankets as we can, for those who desperately need them as we head into winter.
CPPSB Intro doc