BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – By March 1, supermarkets and other stores will be banned from offering single-use plastic bags.
Wegmans has announced that they’ll stop offering the bags before the statewide ban goes into effect, on Jan. 27.
You can pick up reusable shopping bags at nearly any grocery or box store, but a (free!) way to make sure you always have some bags on hand is to make your own.
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper offers instructions on how to turn an old T-shirt into a reusable bag. All you’ll need is an old shirt and a pair of scissors.
“You can never have too many reusable bags- I have 30 in my trunk at all times,” said Elizabeth Cute, community engagement manager at Buffalo-Niagara Waterkeeper.
Bags made out of old T-shirts are great for several reasons- they can be folded small enough to fit inside of a jacket or a purse, and they’re a great way to reuse shirts from a race or concert.
“We all have so many extra T-shirts- if you don’t want to part with them, this is a great way to repurpose them,” Cute said.
Here’s how to make your own reusable bag:
1.) Start with an old T-shirt. Cut off the sleeves as if you’re making a workout tank.
2.) Cut out the neckline- this is the opening of the bag. The leftover shoulder pieces will form the handles.
3.) Turn the shirt inside out. Cut slits along the bottom of the shirt about three inches long and one inch apart. Cut the front and back layers together so they line up.
4.) Tie the matching front and back fringe strands together in a double knot. After all the strands are knotted, tie each knot strand to the ones next to it to eliminate any small holes at the bottom of the bag.
5.) You can leave the bag as it is if you like the look of the fringe at the bottom, or turn it inside out to hide it.
Buffalo Niagara-Waterkeeper runs several cleanups of the area’s waterways each year.
“Plastic bags are one of the big, single-use plastics we really see impacting our environment in a negative way,” Cute said. “We’re finding always plastic bags in our waterways, stuck in trees- they start to break down into smaller and smaller pieces and that impacts our wildlife and our water systems.”
Reusable bags are preferable to paper bags, Cute added.
“Paper bags are heavy- it takes more energy and emissions to transport them to stores,” Cute said. “Having reusable bags that will live up to 50 plus trips to the store is really your best option.”
Do you have trouble remembering to bring your reusable bags along for shopping trips?
“Keep them in the front seat of your car so that you can always see them, put a note on the dash of your car,” Cute suggested. “If you forget, that’s ok, you can always purchase a reusable bag or see how much you can carry in your hands.”