With one final toss, Sierra Isenbarg dropped the last black trash bag in the heaping pile outside Fort Mill Town Hall.
The bag was one of 18 large trash bags she and the other members of Girl Scout Troop 3567 had collected, each filled with hundreds of smaller plastic grocery bags.
“We were just trying to help the Town however we could,” Sierra, 15, said.
It took almost two years of stops and starts due to COVID, and several weekends of collection events at neighborhoods around Fort Mill, but Sierra and her troop managed to collect 99 pounds of bags to contribute to the Town’s new Bags to Benches program. Fellow scout Jennifer Williams, 15, said they put the word out for months about the need for grocery bags as part of their Silver Award project.
“We put signs out in different neighborhoods and would spend a day going around to those neighborhoods collecting tons of bags,” Williams said.
As part of the program, residents can deposit plastic grocery bags for recycling at three main locations- Town Hall, the YMCA at the Complex and the Fort Mill Community Center. The Town is partnering with Trex, a company which will produce a 48” bench for every 500 pounds of shopping bags deposited (equal to 40,500 bags). The Town is eligible to receive one bench in a six-month period.
As it turns out, the Girl Scout’s contribution has helped push the Town over its first milestone, earning Fort Mill its’ first recycled bench, which will be claimed and installed at a later date.
Heather Isenbarg, troop volunteer and Sierra’s mother, said her troop hoped to help beautify the Town by keeping bags out of green spaces and improving local parks.
“The girls were excited to help donate to the Town, hoping it could be used for the parks to eventually have new benches,” Heather said.
The Town thanks everyone in the community who helped contribute bags to the program, as well as Harris Teeter for partnering to be our drop-off location.