By Sammi Samim
Special to The Review
The Be a Good Neighbor project is a youth community service project, sponsored by Hamtramck Community Initiative and led by Rev. Sharon Buttry.
The project brings together high school students in order to encourage change in our community. Members of the project meet monthly at Bank Suey, located on the corner of Caniff and Jos. Campau, with the goal of transforming Hamtramck into a more clean, safe, and sustainable city to live in.
Students have the opportunity to earn community service hours by attending meetings and participating in the various projects that Be a Good Neighbor organizes. Some of these projects include informing and encouraging Hamtramck residents to recycle and to reuse; helping out at community gardens; and sewing T-shirt shopping bags.
On Nov. 20, the Be a Good Neighbor Project members provided 50 free T-shirt shopping bags to local businesses to offer to their customers, in an effort to reduce plastic pollution.
Some of the businesses in Hamtramck offering these T-shirt bags are Surma Bazar, Jomir Grocery, Fresh Valley Market, Tekla Vintage, and Euro Mini Market.
Switching from plastic bags to reusable bags, such as these T-shirt bags, can save businesses a great deal of money. According to a spokesman at Fresh Valley Market, “almost $1,000 is spent each year on plastic bags.”
Not only are the T-shirt bags reusable, they are very easy to make since all you will need is a clean old T-shirt and needle and thread.
Above all, using these T-shirt bags could be a great way to reduce plastic pollution in our community.
In 2019, BGNP had a discussion about how many plastic bags we see littering the street. This sparked an idea to encourage residents to use more reusable shopping bags when they go to the markets here in Hamtramck.
“Plastic shopping bags create litter, fill landfills, and are harmful to birds and animals,” said Rev. Sharon Buttry.
“Fabricated shopping bags use as much or more carbon to make than plastic bags. So the Be a Good Neighbor Project students sewed 50 shopping bags from gently used T-shirts, to promote a cleaner environment in Hamtramck.”
TEKLA was the first business in Hamtramck to use these new shopping bags. Now, two years after the project started, our bags are in stores, being offered to customers in place of plastic ones.
Given the numerous benefits of reusable shopping bags, Be a Good Neighbor encourages Hamtramck residents to join their efforts to reduce plastic pollution and make Hamtramck more sustainable by adjusting to them.
(Sammi Samim is a Hamtramck High School student.)
Posted Dec. 17, 2021