The Green Bag Lady group was started by artist Teresa VanHatten-Granath in 2008. The eco-friendly art project has become an international movement where volunteers make cloth bags to give away. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARBARA COLBY

Saving the planet one bag at a time 

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — If Barbara Colby can’t convince someone to become a Bagette, she would at least like to make using a reusable cloth bag as easy as possible.  

A Bagette is someone who, like Colby, has joined the Green Bag Lady group and is volunteering to save the planet, one bag at a time. Started by artist Teresa VanHatten-Granath in 2008, the eco-friendly art project has become an international movement where volunteers make cloth bags to give away. Nationally, the group has given away more than 150,000 bags so far.   

Colby will be stationed at the Southwest Harbor Farmer’s Market on Friday, July 9, giving away her handmade cloth bags.  

“I thought with Maine going bagless July 1, it would be a great opportunity,” said Colby, about getting the word out about Green Bag Lady. “We’re looking for more volunteers to help out.” 

Colby got on board with the Green Bag Lady project 11 years ago when she was living in Nashville, Tenn. Since then, as she moved to different areas of the country, Colby has been a co-coordinator for chapters of GBL.  

“We give these bags for free; we don’t charge money for them,” she said. “Of course, you give them out to friends and family.” 

There is a basic pattern for the bags on the group’s website,  

“The best fabric for this is a cotton or cotton/poly(ester) blend,” said Colby. “Everybody seems to have a stash of fabric.” 

Having complex sewing skills is not a requirement to join, and most bags are made with donated material.  

“I can sew a straight line. I don’t do anything tricky,” said Colby, adding that there really is one objective to the project – “Getting people to use cloth bags instead of paper or plastic bags.”  

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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