PLATTSBURGH - With more and more plastic bags ending up in the landfill every year, many are looking at other options to this non-biodegradable material.
Wendy Patunoff, a speech and language teacher at Bailey Avenue Elementary School and a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, has created "Green-Loc" - the name she is designated for her homemade reusable sandwich bags.
"I started it as a Christmas gift," Patunoff recalled. "And, after I gave them out for Christmas, people wanted more. So, I started sewing them and that's kind of how it got started."
Patunoff first learned of the reusable bags when a colleague brought one into school. She then took the idea home with her and worked to create her own version.
With different types of fabric on the outside of the bag and a washable material used on the inside, Patunoff now sells her creation for $5 a piece.
"It's amazing, you don't even realize because Ziplocs have always been so convenient, how many you save," said Patunoff. "It just saves so much and I think it just sends a nice little message."
"I'm always proud to see all the young people using them," she added. "I think we've been preaching recycling and not wasting for a long time; not over-packaging. It's just fits nicely with that."
Patunoff has created two types of Green-Loc bags - based on the material used on the inside. One she has created with a waterproof laminated fabric and the other with ripstop nylon - both closed with Velcro.
And, she has found they aren't only utilized with the typical "bagged lunch."
"One of my girlfriends uses it for her jewelry at the gym," Patunoff said. "Some people use it for makeup, snacks."
"I just throw [them] quickly in a bag for organization," she added.
Patunoff's Green-Loc bag creation can be found at the North Country Food Co-op, 25 Bridge St., or Stony Brook Pottery, 72 Mason St., Morrisonville.
For more information, Patunoff can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.