St. James man uses his talent for weaving to keep plastic out of our water systems

KEYC News Now at 6 Recording
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:37 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Travis Smith has two goals. Saving dolphins, and helping the homeless.

“I make mats for homeless people to give to,” explained Smith, “I take bags out of the ocean and landfill because I don’t want the dolphins to get killed.”

Travis has a special place in his heart for dolphins, and saving the ocean. He once got to swim with them.

“There is two other people that got to do the same thing I did,” said Smith.

Since discovering he can achieve his goal by making mats out of plastic grocery bags, he has never looked back.

“He takes the bags out of the bag and he separates them all. So if they’re from if they’re from Target, Target has a pile, Super Fare is a pile,” explained Travis’ mother, Marge, “Everybody has a pile and then I take them flatten them. Cut them into strips tie them into strips and he weaves... Forever.”

Over forty-five thousand plastic bags have been saved from landfills, from streams, and from the ocean by his pursuit alone. It takes nearly 900 grocery bags for one mat, and he’s made 51 since he began.

“It is absolutely mind-boggling, and what the whole family everybody we know was so proud of him, and we’ve lived in St. James our whole life. So people know Travis from when he was two years old, so everybody knows him. They’ve seen him grow up, you know, and it is amazing how people feel about this,” explained Marge.

“If people [would] do the same thing that I’m doing now, and make mats for homeless people and keep all these bags out of the ocean and seas, and our earth would be a whole better earth to live on,” said Smith.

The mats are donated to Catholic Charities in St. Paul for them to distribute to people in need.