A Fort Worth group known as Bring Your Bag, Fort Worth is actively promoting reusable bag use. An information meeting will be held Jan. 27 at 5:30 pm in Fort Worth. Photos courtesy of Bring Your Own Bag, Fort Worth.

Jan. 27, 2015 

A Fort Worth group is not waiting around for a bag ban to get more people to start using reusable bags.   

According to Angela Hall, organizer of “Bring Your Bag, Fort Worth,” more than 650,000 bags are distributed everyday in the city, impacting the environment and driving up clean up costs. 

That’s why she's says it's important for residents to change behavior now rather than waiting for a bag law like the one that went into effect in Dallas this month.

“If we can change a simple habit in every citizen, we can create big change for our environment,” Hall says.  

Using an educational approach to inform residents about the benefits of using their own reusable bags, Hall hopes that the Bring Your Bag project will help get folks into the habit of bringing their own reusable bags when shopping. 

Watch "Bring Your Own Bag, Y'all," featuring the Bag Monster. Produced by Fort Worth-based Turquoise Video Productions.

“Hopefully,” she says, “one day, when a bag ban is reintroduced in Fort Worth, the citizens will not be surprised or combatant to the idea.”  

The first meeting for “Bring Your Bag, Fort Worth” will be held Tuesday, Jan. 27, from 5:30pm to 7:30 pm at Grand Cru Wine Bar, 1257 West Magnolia Ave. in Fort Worth. They hope to recruit volunteers for projects planned in the coming months.

Hall says the idea for the group was conceived a year ago and the project was developed throughout 2014.  

“We have been recruiting volunteers last fall and have our first meeting this month,” she says. “The project was created through an initiative with SteerFW – an organization created by the Mayor of Fort Worth’s office with the goal of engaging emerging young professional leaders.”

As a member of SteerFW, Hall says she was encouraged to develop a project that addressed one of the city’s needs.

“That, for me, was sustainability,” she explains. “For now, I am the primary organizer of the project, but it is supported through SteerFW, and ultimately, the city of Fort Worth.  

There are also other groups involved in the program. Hall, who is also a member of the Sierra Club, says they have been part of the campaign for a single-use bag ban in Fort Worth. However, the Sierra Club is not a part of the Bring Your Bag, Fort Worth. Groups that are taking a lead with Bring Your Bag include Texas Campaign for the Environment, Fort Worth Interfaith Power and Light, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Center and Fort Worth Audubon Society

“It is my goal to recruit some larger corporations to support and sponsor the bag printing and distribution,” Hall says. 

So far the group has only been spreading the word and planning actions for March to June.

“We are ramping up now by collecting volunteers and nailing down which retail outlets will help us with our project.”

They hope to partner with three or four grocery stores to track reusable bag traffic, using the month of March as a baseline.

“Then, in April, we would like to set up a table outside the stores and pass out bags on every Saturday of the month,” she says. “Free bags to anyone who will take them. We’ll also educate them on using their bags. At this same time, we’ll be doing other education efforts like social media, advertising, city/mayoral endorsements and so on. We will tell people where they can get their free bags.”

In April into June, the group will track reports from the merchants on how bag usage has changed with the hopes that there has been at least a 10 percent increase.  

“My goal is to get three to four grocery stores in areas that have demographics of lower income, minority and elderly,” she says. “We feel this population is less likely to have access to and use reusable bags regularly, but we want to distribute bags to one percent of the population, so around 8,500 bags.”

As the project lead, Hall developed the details of implementation and she says she will see this phase through as well.

“I became involved with the group because I am passionate about our environment and in small steps creating huge changes,” she concludes. “We start small and if the goals are met and we see an improvement, the project could be expanded to more of the population of Fort Worth, other cities and beyond.”

Shopping for reusable bags?
See the Green Source DFW Reusable Bag Guide.

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