Resident Helps Others Get Rid of Plastic Bags

Resident Helps Others Get Rid of Plastic Bags

When Alameda resident Susan Freeman visits a local grocery store and notices a shopper reaching for a plastic bag, she offers them one of her homemade cotton produce bags. Freeman intends to help Alameda become a “city without plastic bags.”

“I make them and I give them away,” Freeman said. She carries the 13x10-inch bags in a larger shopping bag in order to conveniently share them with fellow shoppers.

Freeman is well known at the Marketplace on Park Street, where she often shops for her supply of reusable bags. She hopes that these will lessen the prevalence of plastic bags in grocery stores.

When she approaches shoppers, they usually ask the price of the bags. “The staff at the Marketplace always pop up and say, ‘She gives them away for free!’” Freeman said.

Shoppers react to Freeman’s advances in a variety of ways. “I once had a woman run away from me,” she said.

 However, people do not usually run at the sight of Freeman and her reusable bags. “Most people are very nice,” she said. Many are impressed by the time and energy Freeman dedicates to aiding the environment and supporting her community.

Freeman hopes that one day in Alameda, every shopper will use one of her bags. She would like to give away as many as possible but emphasizes the ease of producing the bags at home and encourages shoppers to create their own.

Freeman buys the best quality cotton for the cheapest price she can find. Three yards of fabric makes 16 bags, and Freeman generally spends 50 cents to produce each bag.

In order to construct the bags, Freeman cuts the cotton into 27 by 11 inch pieces. She then folds and stitches the bottom and sides of the bag and later hems the top and reinforces the seams. The final product measures 13 by 10 inches.

Isabel Sullivan is an Alameda Sun intern. She can be reached at