These Volunteers are Turning Old Life Vests into Beds for Refugees

By: Katherine Pendrill - Jan 21, 2016
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A group of volunteers from the Greek island of Lesvos recently found a new use for the old life vests washing up on their shores. Instead of simply throwing the vests away, these activists turned them into mattresses for refugees who need a comfortable place to rest for the night.

Like many coastal European cities, Lesvos has seen a growing number of life vests washing up on its shores due to the recent wave of Syrian refugees. While the old life vests pose an environmental problem, volunteers have put the waste material to new use by turning it into mattresses. The vests are actually ideal for creating bedding because the closed-cell material is comfortable and it insulates heat. This is vast improvement over the cold, hard ground that most refugees find themselves sleeping on when they arrive.

The upcycled mattresses demonstrate how the byproducts of a crisis can be transformed into innovative solutions.