International Plastic Bag Free Day, celebrated on July 3, is a global initiative to eliminate the use of plastic bags and combat the amount that ends up in our landfills and waterways. One eastern Missouri Girl Scout, Josie Bielecki, a 2022 graduate of Eureka High School, decided she wanted to take action and leave a positive impact on the environment.
After learning that it could take up to 500 years for clothing and plastic to decompose, Bielecki researched ways to reuse and limit the amount of waste in our landfills. She held a donation drive to collect old T-Shirts and plastic bags, which she then turned into reusable bags. Bielecki taught and led her team of volunteers to make plarn – plastic yarn – and crocheted it into reusable bags. Then, using the same process, she also sewed the donated shirts into bags. Bielecki donated her reusable bags to local food pantries to pass out to individuals benefitting from their services.
Once Bielecki and her team finished with the bags, she created two websites on how to prep and sew shirt bags to educate others in her community. She also wrote out her instructions and shared them with the Victorian Garden Retirement Home Sewing Club, who will continue making and donating the bags yearly.
“I really wanted to pursue my Gold Award to make a change in my community,” Bielecki said. “I was constantly seeing waste everywhere and I had learned about the impacts it has on the environment.”