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Plastic bag artist takes phase-out at Kroger in stride

September 3, 2018

COVINGTON, Ky. — As soon as news broke that Kroger will phase out plastic bags, fans of Shari Petrie, a.k.a. “The Bag Lady,” asked what she will do.

“It is going to affect us in a way, but I have a very long time to prepare for it,” said Petrie, who recycles thousands of shopping bags a month into “plarn,” or plastic yarn.

From there she crochets a fairly long list of items: Totes, rugs, bed rolls, campers, sleepover kits, waterproof pillows, pillow seats for teachers, coasters, wreaths and bracelets, a favorite among kids.

“I hate these bags,” The Bag Lady said, somewhat surprisingly.

“I love our oceans. After working with (the bags), it’s insane how strong they are and how long they last. I started doing this because I hate these bags.”

Her so-called “Bag Lady Movement” is designed to keep shopping bags out of landfills, to turn them into what she calls “functional art.”

She talks to about 15 school classes a year, showing students photos of plastic bags caught around sea turtles, suffocating them.

“I’m taking these bags and putting them to good use.”

People have joined The Bag Lady’s bandwagon.

Holmes High School collected 22,000 bags for her in a bag drive.

On Saturday, Petrie has a booth at DCCH Farmers Market of Fort Mitchell from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 75 Orphanage Road. She’ll be there every Saturday until the farmers market winds down in October.

“I’m inviting people to bring plastic bags and they’ll get a small gift,” the Latonia resident said.

As for the Kroger announcement, she’s hopeful the move will encourage people to use canvas or cloth bags at the grocery.

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