Too Many Tote Bags? Donate Them

Nov 12, 2012

If you are one of the many people who receives a tote bag every time you volunteer and find yourself with a house full of totes, it might be time to start donating some

Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh are teaming up with The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project to collect totes, gym bags, and backpacks to be distributed to local food pantries.

Jeaneen Zappa, sustainability manager for the county, said this is their second year helping to collect bags. She said from November 12-18 people can drop their bags off at 13 locations around Pittsburgh.

Zappa said food pantries don’t like to use paper or plastic bags, which consume a lot of resources to make and often end up in landfills.

“A tote bag, while there’s resources consumed in producing it, enjoys a ling life, if well cared for, can be used multiple times,” said Zappa. “So, we always encourage people to use reusable shopping bags. It’s the same idea, but in helping our neighbors who go to food pantries to be able to have those bags available.”

Zappa said the effort helps to cut costs for food pantries, which no longer need to buy so many bags.

She said, by donating bags, people can help those who use food banks to carry their goods in a more dignified way.

“Here’ somebody who’s already got enough challenge in having to take probably public transportation or make a lot of arrangements to get to their food pantry, get that food, and then not be able to carry it easily.”

Zappa said last year's collection pulled in 349 bags but had fewer collection spots. She said they are expecting to receive 1,000 to 2,000 bags this year with the additional collection points.