LITTLETON, Colo. — For Teresa VanHatten-Granath, the nickname "bag lady" is a badge she wears with pride.
Twelve years ago, she founded Green Bag Lady, a nonprofit that makes bags out of donated up-cycled and recycled fabrics and then gives them away in an effort to cut down on paper and plastic.
She initially began making the bags as a way for her family to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store, but the idea took off and became much bigger.
"I meet people and they go, 'Oh, you’re the one with the bags,' or they say, 'You’re the bag lady,'" VanHatten-Granath said.
She said that people typically use a plastic bags for maybe 20 minutes, but a plastic bag can stay in a landfill for hundreds of years.
"It’s a short-term solution that creates a long-term problem — and it’s a huge problem," she said.
Her solution to that problem has launched a movement.
What started as one woman making eco-friendly bags has grown to 88 chapters worldwide. Green Bag Lady has given away more than 108,000 bags thanks to groups of volunteers, called "bagettes."
"We have freebies every so often on the website and you can enter to win a bag and we give away about 20 and we ship them all over the world," VanHatten-Granath said.
She is changing the world, one bag at a time.
Volunteer Barbara Bergonz said she can see the dedication VanHatten-Granath puts into this project.
"She’s a pretty dedicated person and I hope she does it for years to come," Bergonz said.
For more information on the Green Bag Lady project or details on how you can get a bag, visit her website here.
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