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Every year, the average American family takes home nearly 1,500 plastic shopping bags, and reuses only about 15 of those bags.
But three San Francisco high schoolers have set out to change that, while also raising money for a Bay Area food bank.
Infused with beeswax, pine rosin and jojoba oil, Mazie Girls reusable cotton food storage bags are for sale online and at Bay Area farmers markets through May. The beeswax bags help keep produce and other food items fresh providing a eco-friendly alternative to plastic ones.
Elizabeth Willson, Sophie Woods and Sam Kaplan run the Mazie Girls, a nonprofit organization that creates earth-friendly artwork to support local food banks.
“We wanted something that would just display our art and something that was reusable and has a purpose, (for example) stopping plastic bag waste with the beeswax bags,” said Willson, communications manager for Mazie Girls.
While the three girls run the organization, other teen volunteers assist with sewing, selling and distributing the reusable bags.
“It’s been really amazing to see how much the community has helped,” Wilson said. “I was really surprised by … how many people donated and how many people volunteered to help out.”
In addition to selling bags at local farmers markets, the Mazie Girls also launched a GoFundMe page, where they hope to raise $5,000 for the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank; they are nearly halfway to their goal.
For every $20 donated, Mazie Girls provides donors with three beeswax bags and gives $11 to the food bank.
Rachel Breuer, senior events and special projects manager for the food bank, said the money is urgently needed.
As many as 55,000 households rely on the food bank every week, nearly twice as many as before the pandemic. For every $1 donated, Breuer said the food bank can help families purchase healthy groceries for two meals.
Breuer said she is impressed by how much the Mazie Girls have accomplished at such a young age.
“I think it’s impressive that they created this program that not only benefits the food bank but helps reduce waste,” Breuer said. “I’ve been impressed with how professional they are … they’re really a true partner in this project.”