Two Vernon youth are taking on the challenge of reducing the use of plastic bags in our community.

When they became aware of the harm that plastic can do to the environment, Sophie and Sarah decided to take action.

The sisters began working on prototypes for shopping bags made from recycled T-shirts provided by The Georgette Thrift Shop, a social enterprise owned and operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Vernon & District.

“We have always been a bit earth conscious and do what we can. The trigger for us was the whale that died with 88 pounds of plastic found in its stomach,” said the girls’ grandmother, Ria Hakker.

“The more we know, the more we need to do something. This is a simple step anyone can do and we are all pretty excited about it,” she said.

The T-shirt bags are available at The Georgette Shop by donation. “Every year we save a large amount of waste from entering our landfills,” said store manager Art Harrigan. “We are really happy to partner with Sarah and Sophie to reduce the use of plastic in our community.”

The Georgette Shop accepts donations of quality clothing to sell at affordable prices, with proceeds used to fund programs and services at CMHA. Unsaleable items find new homes rather than end up in the landfill. Cottons are cut into rags and sold to local businesses, while jeans and other suitable materials are cut into pieces for volunteers to make into quilts for sale.

The Georgette Shop was established in 1966 in memory of Georgette Andres, a founder of the CMHA Vernon branch. Donations of gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing are gratefully accepted. The shop is run by volunteers six days a week, who donated 12,750 hours of their time to the store last year.

The Georgette Shop, located at 3100 – 28 Avenue, is open Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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