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B.C. woman making cloth bags out of used t-shirts to reduce reliance on plastic

Karen Scheffers hopes people will think about the impact single-use plastic has on the environment
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Karen Scheffers uses t-shirts from the thrift store to make bags for the food bank as a convenient way for people to carry their food home with them. (Submitted photo)

Karen Scheffers of Vanderhoof makes cloth bags out of t-shirts to reduce reliance on single use plastic — and she’s thrilled to see the trend catching on.

Scheffers said very few t-shirts get purchased at the thrift store. So a lot of them ended up being shredded. She saw an opportunity to solve two problems at once by reusing clothing to solve the growing problem of pollution from single use plastic bags. Scheffers uses t-shirts from the thrift store to make bags for the food bank as a convenient way for people to carry their food home with them.

“A number of years back they held the fashion show and people made clothes and articles out of things that came from the thrift store.I found this pattern to make the t-shirt bags and gave them out at that event. It’s just a very quick way to make a bag for people to take shopping and things,” Scheffers said.

She said she has also been inspired by the Nechako Waste Reduction Initiative as they try to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

As the idea became more popular, Scheffers and her friend Colleen Flanagan made 500 in just one year, and then the Farmer’s Market also started making bags out of t-shirts and using those instead of plastic.

“I was really excited when I saw the farmers market also took that on. I guess we are going to have to go this way because apparently single use plastic is going to be banned — which I’m so grateful for. I don’t think our grandchildren need to inherit this mess,” Scheffers said.

“I’d love to see them all over. And you know, that’s the funny thing because a couple people said to me today — ‘I actually have one of your bags.’”

Scheffers hopes more people will think about the impact single use plastic has on the environment long-term. She part of taking care of the planet is to to reduce what we’re throwing away before we drop it into the garbage, and that we should be mindful of where it’s going.

“It’s not disappearing. It’s being put away for future generations to deal with. That’s what I’d really like people to think about. It’s going to take time for us to recognize that single use plastic is just not acceptable anymore. It’s just got to stop. It’s too hard on the environment.”

READ MORE: B.C. moves to ban some single-use plastic bags, products province-wide


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