Bag Hero Program

Our Bag Hero program demonstrates how easy it is to bring your own bags and why it’s important. Each month we recognize an exceptional community member who has chosen to use reusable bags while shopping or promote reusable bags for their customers. Some Bag Heroes are shown shopping at stores that make reusable bags available to customers while others are shown in their place of business. We applaud their efforts to reduce waste and become a part of the solution.

September 2019 – Holly Thomas & Jacque Hamilton

Our September Bag Heroes are Holly Thomas and Jacque Hamilton, two members of our Surfrider Foundation chapter. While chatting about reusable bags at a recent meeting, they pulled out the bags that they both carry in their purses to show everyone. Since the bags are made with integrated stuff pouches, they fit easily inside a pocket, purse or backpack and are ready to use in seconds.

As Holly and Jacque show, everyone can have a reusable bag handy when they need it. “We’ve learned a lot about plastic pollution in the Surfrider Foundation and are always looking for ways to improve our environmental stewardship. By carrying these compact pop-out bags, we can easily skip the plastic bags on any store errand.”

August 2019 – The Zamora Family

Say hi to our August Bag Heroes, the Zamora family. With two young boys, Joseph and Kimberlee want to teach them that doing something simple like bringing their own bags can contribute to a positive impact in our community.

Kimberlee says, “We love using reusable bags because keeping the Earth clean is important to us. Plastic bags can end up all over the city and in our ocean harming fishes, birds, and other animals. It’s also important for us to show our sons the difference we can make in reducing pollution. We remind them that even though they are little, they can make a big difference in this world.”

July 2019 – Morgan Stone & Madeline Waterhouse

Our July Bag Heroes, Morgan Stone and Madeline Waterhouse, are Environmental Studies majors at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and Southwestern University. They currently helping our Surfrider Foundation chapter as summer interns.

“We love reusable bags because they’re an easy way to be sustainable and encourage normalization of other reusable products like silverware and straws while also sending a message to those around us about the consciousness of the planet. And they save us money since some local businesses like Threads have a BYOBag discount.”

June 2019 – Sarah Searight

Sarah is an artist who splits her time between Port Aransas and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  She’s also member of the Port Aransas Conservancy, which is currently fighting industrial growth on Harbor Island across the channel from the town’s waterfront.

When Port Aransas passed a plastic bag ban in 2014, Sarah was already in the habit of bringing her own bags to the grocery store, “When I carry my bags into the store, I feel empowered, like I’m doing something good for the environment.”  Even though Port Aransas was later forced by the state to rescind their ban, residents like Sarah saw the improvements it made, and continue bringing their own bags when heading to the store.

May 2019 – Ryan Turner

Our Bag Hero for May is Ryan Turner. When he’s not working as a geologist, Ryan can often be found surfing around Packery Channel on North Padre Island.

“I love sea turtles, surfing and the environment. I’ve seen the effects plastic bags have on the environment and I know how easy it is to use reusable bags. So I’m turning to reusable bags and spreading the word that reusable bags are SUPER COOL!”

April 2019 – Del Mar College Green Team 

Our April Bag Heroes are the members of the Del Mar College Green Team. As young people who want Corpus Christi to continue its path toward sustainability and vibrancy, the students strive “to contribute to the overall quality and cleanliness of our campus and community through conserving energy, reducing pollution and helping the environment.”

With Earth Day coming up on April 6th, the Green Team is celebrating the planet by bringing their own bags when going to the store and, in doing so, helping to move their city forward.

March 2019 – Coastal Bend Audubon Society

Our March Bag Heroes are the members of the Coastal Bend Audubon Society, who are “committed to conserving, protecting, and promoting the wildlife and habitat of our remarkable little corner of Texas.”

The Coastal Bend is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with species ranging from Least Terns to Whooping Cranes passing through our area. Unfortunately, while studies in the 1960’s showed that only 5% of seabirds had plastic in their stomachs, that percentage increased to 90% by 2018.  Once bird and marine animals eat plastic, they often suffer slow deaths through starvation after the plastics create a false sensation of fullness in their stomachs or block their digestive tracts.

Our Bag Heroes say, “We like reusable shopping bags because we like our seabirds plastic-free. Let’s keep plastic in its place, not in a seabird’s stomach.”

January 2019 – Sierra and Sterling Quick

Our January Bag Heroes are Sierra Quick and her son, Sterling. We met them as they were heading into Sprouts to stock up on groceries.

When asked why she likes reusable shopping bags, Sierra gave several reasons: “I made the switch reusable bags because I got tired of accumulating so many plastic bags and not knowing where they ended up when I put them in the recycling bin at the store.  It’s a step towards protecting our wildlife and benefiting our environment. I also get to set a good example for my son and teach him healthy habits in the process. Then there’s the fact that they’re sturdy enough to carry all my groceries inside in one trip, which is just an added bonus. I keep them in my trunk and take them with me everywhere I go.”

November 2018 – Dr. Pamela Plotkin

Our November Bag Hero is Dr. Pamela Plotkin, Director of the Texas Sea Grant Program. The program is a collaboration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Texas and universities across the state, and its mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.

Dr. Plotkin has worked for decades to improve our understanding of sea turtles and help protect them throughout the world’s oceans. She has also studied pollution and its impact on marine animals.

She states, “There’s a trash pile in the ocean bigger than Texas and plastic bags are a part of this mess. By making small changes in our daily habits, like using only cloth bags when we shop, we can reduce our individual plastic footprint and together we can make a difference for the future our blue planet.”

October 2018 – Adriana Leiva

This month’s Bag Hero is Adriana Leiva! Her desire to live, work and play in a clean and vibrant community exists on both the professional and personal levels.

“Bringing your own bag is one of the easiest ways to transition into a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a habit that can be tough to remember at first, but by being persistent, people can collectively make big changes. I enjoy being a part of the solution!”

September 2018 – Jon Campbell with Hurricane Alley Waterpark

Our September Bag Hero is Jon Campbell, Operations Manager of Hurricane Alley Waterpark in Corpus Christi. Jon says, “Plastic bags have been an issue ever since we opened Hurricane Alley. Based on the number I’ve pulled out of our fenceline, I can only imagine how many are in the bay.” Having to deal with all those loose plastic bags has convinced Jon that reusable shopping bags are a better way to go.

“After all, we live in a beautiful city that we call the Sparkling City by the Sea and we depend on tourism for much of our economy. People don’t want to come to a trashy place.”

August 2018 – AM Bookkeeping & Tax Professionals

Our Bag Heroes for August are the employees of AM Bookkeeping & Tax Professionals! As part of a series of simple changes to make their workplace more sustainable, they made the switch to reusable shopping bags years ago.

“Living on the water, we have a firsthand view of the damage disposable plastic bags can have on our environment. Switching to reusable bags was a no-brainer. They’re easy to use, just keep them in your car and you’re ready whenever you head out to go shopping. They’re hassle free and very stylish!”

 July 2018 – Michiel Landers

Our July Bag Hero is Michiel Landers. We caught up with her as she was headed out to her car with a cart full of groceries. As a busy mom, she finds that reusable shopping bags make her life a little easier while also helping to protect our bays and the Gulf.

“The reusable bags can hold more items than plastic bags do, so I make fewer trips from the car to the house when I get home. I also like the H-E-B insulated bags that keep hot foods hot and cold ones cold. We even use them as lunch bags for the boys when they go on day trips.”

 April 2018 – Kristian Fontenot & Wyatt Hooks

Kristian Fontenot and Wyatt Hooks moved to Corpus Christi from Austin 5 years ago. “As undergraduate college students, we tend to visit the grocery store and farmers’ markets quite a bit. Being accustomed to the bag ban in Austin, we were shocked to see plastic bags again.

However, since reusable bags had become a part of our regular routine, we kept on using them. Once you have incorporated leaving them in your car or home, they are easy to use and maintain.

Plastic shopping bags are a danger to our environment. It is important for us that we make a change to help preserve our local environment and wildlife.”

 March 2018 – Allison Foster

Our March Bag Hero is Allison Foster, Director of the International Study Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. When she, her mother, Jacqueline Wormser, and her son, Miguel, head to the store, they always bring their reusable bags.

Allison explains, “When I was a child, my mother used to bring reusable bags all the time when she went shopping. This was long before it became a common practice, and some people probably thought it was a little strange, but it set a great example for me. Now we’re happy to have passed this tradition on to my son and to see his enthusiasm for helping to keep our city and our beaches beautiful and to protect the natural environment.”

 January 2018 – Alexa Obregon and Todd Jarrell

Our January Bag Heroes are Alexa Obregon and Todd Jarrell, who recently moved to Corpus Christi from Austin. Like many people, “We moved here because we wanted to be close to the beach. When friends ask us what it’s like, the beach is one of the first things we tell them about.”

After being accustomed to Austin’s bag ban, though, the number of bags in fields and trees, and along shorelines throughout Corpus Christi surprised and saddened them. “A city this close to such wonderful natural resources like the bays, beaches and Gulf of Mexico needs to work to protect them.”

Not ones to wait for government to lead the way, Todd and Alexa are being proactive, “Bringing reusable shopping bags to the store is one small thing that we can do to help.”

 December 2017 – The Managers of Texas State Aquarium’s Gift Shop

As scientists have found increasing evidence that plastic trash is causing significant harm throughout the world’s oceans, institutions like the Texas State Aquarium have stepped up to educate guests (they had 560K in 2016) about their role in solving the problem. They have also worked to reduce the use of disposable plastics in their own operations. We applaud the Aquarium and are thrilled to introduce our Bag Heroes for December: Renee Hays and Kristine Sankey, who manage the gift shop there.

When guests check out at the cash register, they don’t get a single-use plastic bag. Instead, they have the option of carrying their purchase without a bag, buying a reusable shopping bag made from recycled plastic bottles, or taking a paper bag.

The program has been well received according to Renee. “Single-use plastic bags are so detrimental to our environment, we are thrilled to be able to offer this program to our guests to help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ultimately ends up in our oceans. We are hoping to help educate guests that their everyday choices make a difference. By purchasing a reusable bag today that they can then re-use again and again, they can help contribute to preserving and protecting our oceans and their inhabitants.“

 November 2017 – The James Family

Our November Bag Heroes are the James family. Jason teaches engineering and aquatic science at Moody High School while Suraida specializes in STEM Education and Science Communication consulting. She says, “We skip the plastic because we want to skip the damage and harm they cause to our precious environment and wildlife. We consider ourselves examples for our daughter Evelyn and those we teach. We want to ensure they will be able to experience the places and see the animals we have enjoyed. Evelyn herself is already a budding conservationist.”

Thanks to efforts by the James family and others who have transitioned to reusable shopping bags, future generations will hopefully be able to enjoy clean beaches and bays throughout the Coastal Bend.

 October 2017 – Jane Green

Our Bag Hero for October is Jane Green, seen here with her assistance dog, Zelda. When they head to the store together, she likes the convenience that reusable shopping bags provide. “Not only are reusable bags better for the environment, they’re easier for me to handle and carry.”

How does she remember to take her bags when she goes shopping? ”I just hang them by the front door after unpacking them, then take them out to the car when I think of it.” Pretty simple, right?

Heroes like Jane show that reusable bags can become a small habit that makes a big difference in the health of our bays and the Gulf. Thanks Jane!

August 2017 – City of Corpus Christi’s Stormwater Department

Our Bag Heroes for August are the employees of Corpus Christi’s Stormwater Department, who manage the city’s storm drain system with 633 miles of piping and over 18,300 storm drain inlets. This system provides drainage when it rains but it’s not designed to treat the rainwater and everything it carries off the streets before the water flows into the bays.

Members of the department strive to inform the public about their role in preventing the introduction of trash, grass clippings, plastic bags and hazardous wastes into the inlets. One way they do so is by handing out educational materials and free reusable shopping bags at events around town.

Their message for everyone is: “City of Corpus Christi Stormwater encourages all citizens to skip the plastic and use reusable shopping bags to keep storm drains and local waterways clear of plastic bags!” We couldn’t agree more!

July 2017 – Fred McCutchon

Our July Bag Hero is Fred McCutchon – Corpus Christi native, attorney and surfer.  Fred is proud of his hometown and hopes that it can once again be worthy of the “Sparkling City by the Sea” moniker.  One way he helps is by remembering bring his reusable bags when he heads to the store.  Fred has summed his thoughts up in a poem:

Think of plastic and the blight
Of bags and bottles in our sight
Think of the waste in single-use
Of bags to buy a snack or juice
Pledge not to use what never rots
Grow natural beauty in your thoughts.

 April 2017 – Judith Reader

Our April Bag Hero is Judith Reader, an active member of the Audubon Outdoor Club (AOC). She says, “As a member of the AOC “Blucher Gang”, we work each Monday afternoon at Blucher Park, picking up litter and cleaning the little creek that runs through the park. Over the years we have picked up hundreds of plastic bags and debris that would have ended up in the Bay. We need to do everything we can to reduce the use of plastic bags and bottles in our community.”

Thank you, Judith, for everything you do!

 March 2017 – Carlos Haney

Our March Bag Hero is Carlos Haney of Enlightened Images.  Known for his creative work in the local advertising scene, Carlos wears a suit and tie only for special occasions but always brings his reusable bags when he heads to the store.

He explains, “I don’t hate plastic, I hate plastic litter.  It’s ugly to me and dangerous to birds and sea life.  Reusable bags are an easy solution. If you think it’s a hassle, try digesting a plastic bag and you’ll feel different.“

 February 2017 – TAMU-CC’s Islander Green Team

Our February Bag Heroes are TAMU-CC’s Islander Green Team. Students on the team work to spread environmental awareness in our community and to promote opportunities for other students to become engaged about environmental conservation while striving for social and ecological justice. Islander Green Team members bring their own reusable bags when heading to the store. In their own words, “We choose to skip the plastic because….plastic is unsustainable.”

January 2017 – Stacie Talbert Anaya

As Interim Director of Corpus Christi’s Parks & Recreation Department, Stacie Talbert Anaya works tirelessly to realize the department’s vision of empowering our community to live, learn and play. Whether residents and tourists enjoy walking on the beach, seeing a summer evening concert at Cole Park or strolling through wetlands to watch wildlife and birds in the country’s “Birdiest City”, Stacie knows that their experiences are heightened when the parks are clean and attractive.

Setting a great example for fellow City employees and all Corpus Christi residents, she says, “I carry reusable bags to help promote my favorite non-profits AND to protect our parks, preserves and wildlife from plastic bags.”

December 2016 – Santa Claus

Our December Bag Hero is none other than Santa Claus.  In his travels from the North Pole to the South Pole, he has seen way too much plastic trash.

He says “I’m making a list, checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.  Be nice and use your reusable shopping bags.”

November 2016 – Jeff Wilson

Our November Bag Hero, Jeff Wilson, is passionate about the coast and hosting fun weekend beach cleanups near Fish Pass. Without any assistance from official cleanup groups, he gathers and inspires volunteers who give their time and pour their sweat into removing tons of trash off the beach.  Most of that trash is made of plastic since it does not readily biodegrade, and single-use checkout bags are invariably in the mix.

When asked what motivates him, Jeff says, “We’re all just trying to take care of what we love, and it really drives the point home when you clean up an area and see everything that winds up out in nature. I really encourage people to just do what they can and don’t wait around for someone else to make the world a beautiful place.”

October 2016 – Dustin & Nicole Pringle


Our October Bag Heroes are Dustin and Nicole Pringle. With backgrounds in environmental consulting and marine research, they understand that a healthy future for our coastal environment depends largely on human choices.  One simple but important change they have made in their daily lives is to bring reusable bags when heading to the store.

“Marine animals like green sea turtles enjoy eating jellyfish. Unfortunately, they can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and end up malnourished or dying.  One thing we all can do to help the turtles is bring our own reusable bags!  Together WE can make a difference.”

August 2016 – David Pierce

August Bag Hero-David Pierce

North Padre Island resident David Pierce is our bag Hero for August. David spends a lot of time working to restore damaged sand dunes and to protect areas populated by sensitive animals and birds like piping plovers.

When asked why he likes reusable bags, he says, “Our beaches and sand dunes are valuable assets and are home for numerous animal species. I bring my own reusable bags when shopping because I am trying to create an awareness for others that our environment and the animals that live in it depend on us to protect them.  Hopefully the proposed plastic bag ban on North Padre Island will become a reality this November.”

June 2016 – Betty Gustafson

June2016-Betty GustafsonOur June Bag Hero is a shining example for all Padre Islanders. When asked why she brings her own bags when shopping, Betty Gustafson answers without hesitation, “Plastic pollution is a massive problem and, at the same time, an intensively personal environmental problem. We touch plastics every day of our lives and with every trip to the grocery store. On the bright side, all of us can do something immediately and measurably to contribute to a solution.” Go Betty!

May 2016 – Bruce & Saskia Short

May-Bruce & Saskia Short Our Bag Heroes for the month of May are Bruce and Saskia Short. Most people on Padre Island probably know them as Bugs and Sas. When they’re not working, chances are you’ll find them at the beach. Bugs is an avid fisherman, but when he’s not out on the jetties, he and Sas can often be found surfing, riding bikes or just enjoying the beach with friends.

Recently, they’ve been encouraged by talk of a possible bag ban on Padre Island, “Every time we take a reusable bag to the store, one less plastic bag makes it to the landfill, or worse, into the water around us. We’re hoping Padre Island will ban plastic shopping bags since too many of them end up harming our marine life.”

April 2016 – Natural Grocers

April-Natural Grocers1April-Natural Grocers2Our April Bag Heroes are the management and employees at the newly opened Natural Grocers store on S. Staples at Doddridge. One thing that makes this store unique is its bag free checkouts.
Since Earth Day 2009, Natural Grocers has encouraged its customers to bring their own reusable bags, purchase reusable bags at the store, or carry their groceries out in cardboard shipping boxes that are available in the checkout area.
This policy has prevented 36 million single-use plastic checkout bags from going to landfills each year. How cool is that??

March 2016 – Girl Scout Troop 96001

March Bag Heroes-GS Troop 96001Our Bag Heroes for the month of March are the members of Girl Scout Troop 96001.

One Girl Scout said she likes reusable shopping bags because, “Bringing reusable bags to the store saves the lives of innocent animals, especially sea turtles.” Another added, “They also make life easier because you can pack a lot of stuff into one or two bags.” Sharp cookies!

January 2016 – Julie Findley

Jan2016 Bag Hero-Julie FindleyOn January 1st, Port Aransas’ ban on single-use plastic checkout bags went into full effect. It’s only fitting, then, that our Bag Hero this month is someone like Port A resident Julie Findley. As the chairperson of Keep Port Aransas Beautiful and a Skip the Plastic volunteer, Julie championed the move to ban plastic checkout bags.

She hopes everyone will start to bring their own reusable bags when going shopping and is “…optimistic that the transition from plastic to reusable bags will be smooth.”

Paraphrasing a Chinese proverb, she says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Preventing plastic bags from entering coastal and marine environments is just one step toward cleaning up our ocean.“

Kudos to Julie and the City of Port Aransas! For more information, go to:

December 2015 – American Cetacean Society – TAMUCC

December_ACS-TAMUCCOur Bag Heroes for December are the members of the American Cetacean Society – TAMUCC Student Coalition. As future marine scientists, they know all about the threats that littered plastic bags and other marine debris pose to dolphins and whales.

Want to save a dolphin or whale? Bring your own bag!

November 2015 – Philippe & Florence Tissot

Philippe & Florence TissotWe caught up with our November Bag Heroes, Philippe and Florence Tissot, as they loaded their groceries into their car outside Sprouts. They are avid windsurfers and surfers who moved to Corpus Christi years ago to enjoy the bay and Gulf waters. They use reusable bags mainly for 2 reasons:

“The first one is convenience. It’s a lot easier to deal with 3 well-made and robust reusable bags to carry groceries than 15 flimsy plastic bags that come apart at the worst possible moment. “

“The other reason is that there is nowhere for the plastic bags to go after you use them once. They are not recyclable. Yes, you can take them to the store to be “recycled” but they end up sitting in big piles in warehouses. No one wants to deal with these things. So most of the time, they end up in the environment, or worse, in the ocean.”

Kudos to the Tissots for helping to keep disposable bags out of the ocean!

October 2015 – Ron & Julie Bays

Ron & Julie BaysWe met our October Bag Heroes, Ron and Julie Bays, as they walked to their car after buying groceries at the H-E-B in Flour Bluff. Their reasons for bringing their own reusable shopping bags are simple and concise, “They look nice and you can pack them full without breaking like the plastic ones do. That means you can carry a lot more groceries in fewer bags.”

The Bays live on North Padre Island and enjoy the laidback coastal lifestyle. While their reasons for using reusable bags stem mostly from convenience, it also means that fewer disposable ones can end up littering the Island’s dunes and beaches.

Clean, scenic beaches, not shorelines littered with plastic trash, are what draw people to the Island. We applaud the Bays and all others who have made the shift to a better way of bagging their purchases.

September 2015 – Shoreline Sandwich Co.

Shoreline Sandwich1Shoreline Sandwich2
When Shoreline Sandwich Co. decided to expand to a second location in the 600 Building on Leopard Street, they decided to go all-in.

In addition to the delicious sandwiches, soups and salads, customers will find:
• Paper bags and cardboard to-go containers instead of plastic bags and Styrofoam.
• A recycling station for customers (employees also recycle containers accumulated during food preparation).
• Repurposed lumber used throughout the restaurant’s contemporary decor. Even the tables were made from former bowling alley lanes.

We congratulate Shoreline Sandwich Co. on its success and its fresh approach to creating a sustainable option to the status quo. Patrons appreciate the healthy food and upbeat dining experience.

August 2015 – Ticia Hanisch


Ticia Hanisch can often be seen power walking along Ocean Drive. The scenery along Corpus Christi Bay is something we can all appreciate and be proud of. Walking, as opposed to driving, gives a person more time to view and enjoy the scenery as they pass through it.

Ticia’s logic for taking reusable bags to the store is straightforward:

“The reason you use reusable bags is because they’re reusable! You can use them over and over and they don’t end up blowing around and littering our city.”

Sounds like a great reason to us! We applaud Ticia and all the other unsung bag heroes who have made the shift to a better way of bagging their purchases.

June 2015 – Gayly Opem

June Bag Hero_Gayly Opem2

As the leader of Skip the Plastic’s Rockport/Fulton team, Gayly Opem sets an example for others by bringing her own bags when shopping. She has a large collection of them in blue, green, red, turquoise, black and white stacked in the backseat of her car and jokes that she likes to color coordinate them with whatever she’s wearing that day. On a more serious note, she says:

“I believe in the power of recognition and positive reinforcement of good behavior. While walking through a store’s parking lot, I look for someone else carrying reusable bags. That person is usually a complete stranger, but I walk over and thank them for using reusable bags. Most look rather startled, but then give me a knowing smile when they see my own reusable bags slung over my arm. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised at the friends you make.”

May 2015 – The Cook Family

Cook Family

Our Bag Heroes for May are Frank, Lili and Marchesa Cook. We met them at the recent World of Water event at the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center.

They’re all natives of Corpus Christi who want their hometown to sparkle again. Bringing their own bags when shopping is one small but important way they make a difference.

“We like going to the beach and know that people come from a lot of other places to visit Corpus Christi’s birding preserves. We need to protect these natural places so that more people can enjoy them.“

Hats off to the Cooks and all the other Bag Hero families!

April 2015 – Jeremy Conkle & Dannielle Kulaw, Marine Scientists

IMG_6746 2IMG_6766

Our April Bag Heroes are Dr. Jeremy Conkle and Danneille Kulaw. Jeremy recently established the Coastal Health and Water Quality Lab at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Dannielle works as a research assistant at Harte Research Institute. Jeremy’s lab will study the fate, transport and health impacts of pollutants, including plastics, in coastal environments while Dannielle’s research looks into the population genetics of marine fishes.

“We moved to Corpus Christi last summer and were very happy to learn about the efforts to solve the area’s plastic pollution problem. We have been working on minimizing our own plastic consumption for a while now, and that started with switching to reusable bags about 5 years ago. It is an exciting time to live here, but when you look around you know we’ve got a long way to go. With the growing community awareness, we know that Corpus Christi is on the right path, and we both look forward to being part of the progress!”

February 2015 – Maclovio Perez, KRIS Meteorologist


When he’s not forecasting the weather on KRIS TV, Maclovio Perez helps our community through his involvement in organizations like the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation.

With a background in meteorology and geosciences, “Mac” recognizes the impact that each person can have on the planet. It’s often up to individuals whether those impacts are positive or negative.

Commenting on a plastic shopping bag, he says, “It’s amazing that this plastic bag….so light…so cheap….so innocuous….has become such a problem to our environment. I applaud the work done by many to bring the problem to light. I am sure the sea turtles also applaud their efforts!

Most of the time, I skip the plastic and carry my goods out by hand… or in a shopping cart.
Then other times, my reusable bag makes so much sense.”

January 2015 – City of Port Aransas


We’re extremely pleased to announce our special January Bag Heroes, the City of Port Aransas. As we imagine what 2015 might bring, their passage of a plastic bag ban shows that concrete action is within the grasp of each Coastal Bend community to help make our region a better place.

The ordinance encourages retailers to provide incentives through education, credits, rebates or tokens for customers who bring their own reusable bags. We like this approach and envision a variety of advertising opportunities on reusable bags.

Skip the Plastic’s team in Port Aransas will stay engaged in the process to help retailers, residents and visitors make the transition to reusable bags. Way to go Port A!!

December 2014 – Kathy Jansen, Chef

Our December Bag Hero is Kathy Jansen, the Director of Food Services/Chef at the Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center on Highway 361. To buy all the ingredients used in preparing meals for up to 80 guests at the center, she has to make 3 to 5 trips a week to the grocery store.

Noting the number of disposable plastic bags she was accumulating, Kathy made the switch to reusable shopping bags six years ago. She now keeps ten reusable bags in her car at all times, so they’re there when she needs them.

The purpose of Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center, a ministry of Christian hospitality, is to provide a sacred place that offers guests rest, reflection, and renewal surrounded by God’s coastal creation. Kathy says that using reusable bags, “Is one small way for me to be a good steward of the gift of God’s creation.”

November 2014 – Paulette Kluge, CEO of the Corpus Christi CVB

Our November Bag Hero, Paulette Kluge, is the CEO of the Corpus Christi Convention & Visitors Bureau. She knows how important it is to keep our city looking beautiful for both visitors and our locals, and invites everyone to a challenge: “Imagine all the people you know … imagine all the plastic bags they use in a year and then imagine the gigantic pile of plastic we are stuffing into the ground of our beautiful city.”

Paulette loves collecting and using reusable shopping bags. “Last year for Christmas I used the reusable holiday themed H-E-B bags to “wrap” presents for my friends and family, eliminating boxes and paper that would be thrown away. I invited them all to start collecting and using their bags.”

She hopes we’ll all start collecting and using reusable bags and that we invite friends and family to play. It is time to make it a personal goal to reduce, reuse and recycle.

October 2014 – WWN Rockport, a Popular Website

Our October Bag Heroes are the women of WWN Rockport, an online newsletter with a large readership in the Rockport-Fulton community.

Alicia, WWN webmaster & owner, says, “We live in a wildlife-centric area, so it’s imperative that we are all mindful of how our actions affect our natural environment. It may seem like a small thing to use a reusable bag, but if we all make small choices we will make one BIG difference!”

Barbara Gurtner, founder of WWN adds, “When I first began taking reusable bags into stores, I never knew how many to take. How much shopping am I going to do? A friend solved the dilemma by telling me how she does it. She keeps one large bag filled with all her other bags and carries them with her. When standing in the check-out line, if she sees the people next to her don’t have reusable bags, she gives them one or more from her collection. This way she eliminates single use plastic bags from landfills and roadsides not only for herself and new friends, but for countless times in the future. Thank you, Patty, for a great example of ‘Paying it Forward.’ I now do this every time I shop.”

September 2014 – Joan & Scott Holt, Marine Scientists

Our September Bag Heroes are Joan and Scott Holt, marine scientists from the University of Texas Marine Science Institute and avid birders. Now retired, they spend their time birding in Port Aransas at the Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond or traveling to exotic places for wildlife viewing.

Like many other Port Aransas residents, the Holts are hoping that their City Council will make a bold statement on September 18th when they vote on a plastic bag ban ordinance.

“Minimizing our use of plastic bags is just another aspect of our environment-friendly philosophy and it is something we think about every time we go shopping. We would be very proud if Port Aransas would step up and take the lead in the Coastal Bend in the effort to reduce the use of plastic bags”.

August 2014 – Freddy Ramirez with Bike Texas

A.P. “Freddy” Ramirez, P.E., is on the Board of Directors for Bike Texas, which encourages and promotes bicycling, increased safety and improved conditions for cyclists. His company, Pendgo Timing, manages running, cycling and paddling races, including the Paddle for Parkinsons race coming up on August 30th. Freddy has pushed race organizers to move away from cheap, disposable bags for entrants’ race packets to sturdy, reusable ones imprinted with sponsors’ logos.

He and his wife live on Corpus Christi Bay and enjoy the peaceful setting, especially on calm mornings when dolphins feed along the shore. Unfortunately, he relates how plastic bags and beverage containers are flushed out into the bay through a nearby storm drain outfall every time it rains.

Having lived in Austin, Freddy is accustomed to bringing his own bags when going to the store. “We shopped at Whole Foods and brought 3 to 4 reusable bags every time. We have this big insulated one that we bought years ago and it keeps all our milk, chilled and frozen foods cold until we get home.” Like our other Bag Heroes, Freddy shows that bringing your own bags is easy once you get in the habit.

July 2014 – Jace Tunnell, Marine Biologist

Jace Tunnell is a marine biologist who understands that we need to be good stewards of our local bays if they’re going to thrive. On an average weekend, you can find his family spending the day at the beach, camping in a state park or enjoying the scenery on Corpus Christi’s bayfront.

As a parent helping to raise two children, he wants to pass on his sense of stewardship and help foster a strong feeling of pride in the city they call home. What’s the connection between city pride, the bay and reusable shopping bags? “I want to set a good example for my kids about making Corpus Christi an even better place to live and protecting the beauty of this great city. Bringing reusable bags when going shopping is one way to do this.”

June 2014 – Dr. Sylvia Earle, World Renowned Oceanographer

For the month of June, we are excited to recognize Dr. Sylvia Earle as our Bag Hero! Anyone who has had the opportunity to hear Dr. Earle speak has no doubt of her passion for the oceans. She warns that the oceans are in crisis, threatened by overfishing and dumping of waste. Still, she remains hopeful that if we act now, we can make changes to save them. Her advice on shopping bags is, “Do your part — part ways with plastic shopping bags. Every plastic bag not used is one that will not tangle a turtle, choke a whale or clutter a beach.”

Dr. Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, has been called a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine. She has been the chief scientist of NOAA and is the chair of the Advisory Council of the Harte Research Institute. She has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 80 countries; and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions

May 2014 – Mary Beth Maxwell, Shopper

Our May Bag Hero is Mary Beth Maxwell, a Corpus Christi resident and average shopper. We approached her last week as she walked out to her car after buying groceries. When asked why brings her own reusable shopping bags, she replied, “The plastic bags just go flying everywhere and it’s horrible. It’s not good for visitors to see all the plastic trash in our city.”

She sees the reusable bags as an easy alternative to disposable ones. “Sometimes I leave them in my car and have to come back out to get them, but I like having them.”

Mary Beth’s pride in Corpus Christi shows and she knows that the simple step of bringing her own bags is helping to make our city cleaner. Way to go, Mary Beth! You’re our hero!

April 2014 – Rae Mooney, Marine Scientist

Rae Mooney is a Research Scientist Assistant at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute/Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve and a member of the newly formed Skip the Plastic Port Aransas team. Like a lot of people in Port Aransas, Rae is looking forward to April 17th when their City Council will consider adopting a plastic bag ban.

Her inspiration comes not only from a desire to see fewer plastic bags spoiling the area’s natural scenery, but also from a scientific understanding of how disposable plastic bags and other plastic trash are impacting the beach, bay and Gulf water ecosystems. She says, “I’m concerned with the legacy we are leaving behind. I don’t want the future to be full of plastic stuck in dunes or people concerned with toxins in their seafood. I would love to see Port Aransas lead the Coastal Bend in reducing our usage of plastic by getting into the habit of using reusable bags.“

March 2014 – Jean Payne, Rockport Resident

Our March Bag Hero is Jean Payne, a Skip the Plastic Rockport/Fulton team member. Jean and others in Skip the Plastic Rockport/Fulton have been working with government officials and other local groups to reduce the number of plastic bags and that spoil the scenery in areas frequented by tourists and harm marine life. To date, they’ve received a resolution of support from the Aransas County Commissioners and have enlisted five organizations as Skip the Plastic Partners.

February 2014 – Weldon Lucas with Bien Hecho

We’re proud to recognize another of our team members as our February Bag Hero.  Weldon Lucas owns and runs the Bien Hecho clothing line. If you’ve frequented ArtWalk, one of the local farmers markets or the Island Moon market, you’ve probably seen him selling his goods there.

Seeing the need for stylish reusable bags in our area, Weldon added sturdy cotton canvas bags to his product line last year.  He purchases bags made by employees with visual impairments at the West Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in San Angelo and then adds his popular prints and designs.

Weldon walks the walk and can be seen with his bags when at stores or on the beach.  Like he says,  “The small act of using reusable bags can make a big difference when we all make the change together!”

January 2014 – Shelia Rogers, Artist

People like our own team member Shelia Rogers show us where problems exist and inspire us to do better. While her thought provoking art made from plastic trash was on display at the Texas State Aquarium, Shelia’s message reached thousands of people.

Her goal is “to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic in our marine environment. I want to motivate them to advocate for a reduction of single-use plastic and make small lifestyle changes that reduce the amount of waste we are putting into our environment. Plastic pollution is a huge problem, but by changing our habits, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable world. Each one of us can make a difference.”

November 2013 – Barbi Leo, Radio & TV Personality

This month, we’re thrilled to recognize Barbi Leo as our Bag Hero. Barbi is a KSAB-FM Morning Show radio personality, KIII TV3 Domingo Live TV Show co-host and realtor with Edwards Capital. She understands the importance of making the switch to reusable bags and shows that like clothes and accessories, they can be stylish and fun.

Barbi notes that many people are already in the habit of using certain types of reusable bags,

“We all use reusable bags daily such as purses or bag packs. We need to make it a habit to carry reusable shopping bags as well. What helped me to get used to them was keeping 4 or 5 bags in my car at all times.”

“I would love to see more people carrying reusable bags when they shop at grocery stores and all stores they frequent, and more retailers encouraging the practice.” Setting the kind of retail example that Barbi mentions, Le’Vu Boutique now offers a 15% discount on the 1st of each month for customers who bring their own bags. Le’Vu is located at 5017 Saratoga Boulevard, Suite 151.

October 2013 – Stephanie Martinez, Aveda Student

Stephanie Martinez, a student at Aveda Institute Corpus Christi, is our October Bag Hero. Aside from training the next generation of beauticians and estheticians, Aveda is known for their high quality beauty care products. Their policy for environmental sustainability resonates from the company’s upper management through the ranks of employees and students.

Stephanie is inspired by this business model and sees the connection with her desire to raise her son in a clean, vibrant community. She and her husband regularly pick up trash in her neighborhood and encourage their neighbors to recycle.

“It’s so simple to pick things up. You have to be the example.” On the subject of reusable bags, Stephanie says, “I can attest that it’s easy to bring your own bag. We put them back in the car after emptying them at home. My son even brings his H-E-B Buddy bag when we go grocery shopping.“

September 2013 – Aislynn Campbell with GROW Local STX

Aislynn Campbell is a true Bag Hero and healthy food activist. As Executive Director of GROW Local STX, she’s helping to cultivate a healthy community by growing the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable foods. A large part of GROW Local STX’s mission is managing the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Wednesday evenings.

The word “community” resonates strongly with Aislynn, a Coastal Bend native. “Civic pride is a number one priority. There needs to be this ownership of our city. Moms, dads, and sisters are beginning to form a better community.”

“We’re learning how to create something sustainable in this community,” she continues. “We need to bring our own bags and focus on the kinds of food we buy.”

August 2013 – Texas Sealife Center

Our August Bag Heroes are the team and volunteers at the Texas Sealife Center. According to Amanda Terry, Director of Rehabilitation at the center, sea turtles eat the bags and birds get them wrapped around their feet. Turtles that ingest bags often die and impaired birds often cannot fly or find food. She tells us, “Wildlife is affected by plastic trash more than people think. If there are less loose plastic bags, then there’s less of a chance of animals ingesting them and becoming entangled in them.”

We salute the Texas Sealife Center for the service it provides to injured sea animals and helping to raise people’s awareness about the dangers posed by plastic marine debris.

July 2013 – Casey Lain, House of Rock

Skip the Plastic recognized Casey Lain, owner of the House of Rock, as our July Bag Hero. When asked why he thinks reusable bags are important, Casey replies, “Taking care of our city, the Sparkling City By the Sea, is a community responsibility. Our downtown bay front and coastlines are a beautiful asset and one of the reasons why I choose to own a business and raise my family here.”

On making the switch to reusable bags, he says, “Changing our habits and mindsets is difficult. With practice and dedication we can all make a difference. The results will be immeasurable and long lasting.”

June 2013 – Jennifer Reid of Threads

All our past bag heroes have been people who bring their own reusable bags when shopping.

For June, we’re recognizing store owner Jennifer Reid since her clothing resale shop, Threads, is helping to change people’s shopping habits. Each time that a customer goes bagless or brings their own bag, they get a card stamped. Once they get six stamps, they receive a free reusable bag with the Threads logo on it!

Jennifer says “I was always aware plastic bags were bad but it wasn’t until I educated myself and saw ‘Bag It’ that I realized how bad they really are. It’s going to affect future generations if we don’t do something now. If I can make one person a little more aware, then I’ll consider it a success.”

Go by Threads at 5706 McArdle Road and see for yourself how a local business can make a difference.

May 2013 – Daniela Sanchez with KORO

KORO-TV News Anchor/Reporter Daniela Sanchez is a real Bag Hero. Noting the problems that disposable plastic bags cause, she says, “I think it’s time that the community comes together and brings reusable bags. We all need to remind each other to make a conscious effort to start using them.”

Gracias Daniela! Esperemos que más gente siguán tu gran ejemplo.

April 2013 – Jeff Francis, Marine Scientist

Skip the Plastic is recognizing Corpus Christi resident Jeff Francis as our April Bag Hero. A recent PhD graduate of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Jeff’s research in ecosystems services emphasizes the importance of healthy bays and estuaries for our local economy.

When asked why he brings his own bag when shopping, Jeff replies “Why contribute to the buildup of plastics in the environment, especially when we have good alternatives?”

We also want to thank Stripes for their recent efforts in training their associates and informing customers about options to taking plastic bags with their purchases. Through new signage and employee education in stores across the Coastal Bend area, Stripes is taking a proactive approach to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up littering our city and our bays.

March 2013 – Lisa James, Mom

We’ve chosen Lisa James as our March Bag Hero for her commitment to keeping plastic bags out of the ocean. As a mother of two, she shares her love of the ocean by taking her kids to the beach and by choosing reusable bags to help keep the Gulf of Mexico free of plastic bags. That’s why she uses reusable bags everywhere she shops, whether it be at Wind and Wave Surf Shop or a grocery store. Because Lisa, like many Corpus Christi residents, is choosing to “skip the plastic.”
Our hats are also off to Wind and Wave Surf Shop for offering their customers two types of reusable bags: the woven type with the Wind and Wave logo and cool nylon bags that stuff into a pouch small enough to keep in your glove compartment or purse. Beachgoers now have a choice!

February 2013 – Corpus Christi Fireman and EMT John Keller

February’s Bag Hero is Corpus Christi fireman and EMT John Keller. John was recently recognized with the Firefighter of the Year award by the Kiwanis Club for his heroic lifesaving efforts in Corpus Christi Bay
When asked about reusuable shopping bags, John says, “Whenever I buy food for the firehouse, I always use reusable bags. It’s just a habit.” He continues, “We work all over town and I see trash all over the city. I want to at least do my part to use reusable bags and hopefully the other guys at the station will give it a try.”

We salute John for setting a great example for others to follow.

January 2013 – Mayor Nelda Martinez

As Mayor Nelda Martinez says, a new year and new era have begun in Corpus Christi. She encourages everyone to bring their bags when shopping to help keep our city clean. Make it your resolution for 2013 to do your part and “Bring Your Own Bag.” It’s easy to do once you get in the habit.

One reason the Mayor likes to shop at Sprouts Farmers Market is the 5-cent discount they offer for every reusable bag that customers bring when shopping.

We applaud their efforts to encourage customers to reduce waste and become a part of the solution.

December 2012 – Ryan Chiasson, Ice Rays Player

Ryan Chiasson plays as a defenseman for the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Ryan has been enjoying Corpus Christi’s warm weather. When not playing or practicing, he likes to fish and relax at our local beaches.

When asked why he prefers reusable bags, Ryan said

“Plastic bags end up in the landfill and oceans. Reusable bags are clearly better for the environment.”

We would also like to recognize Target for their efforts to reduce waste and help keep our city clean. As a part of their Corporate Responsibility program, Target offers a 5-cent discount to their customers for every reusable bag they use and gives away free reusable bags on Earth Day. So far, Target’s nationwide customers have used 80 million reusable bags instead of paper or plastic ones. We think that’s a smart and sustainable way to do business.

November 2012 – Tony Amos, Local Legend & Marine Scientist

Tony Amos is the founder and director of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. Tony is a researcher and oceanographer widely recognized for his efforts to educate the public about the problems increasing human population and encroaching development pose for wildlife in our coastal area. In his work, he has witnessed the negative effects of plastic marine debris, including plastic bags, on many marine animals.

When asked why he prefers reusable bags versus single-use plastic bags, he answers:

“You have to get rid of a little bit of convenience if you want to preserve the environment.”

We commend Mr. Amos for his hard work and hope that other people will follow his great example.

October 2012 – Mayor Joe Adame

Mayor Joe Adame is the first Bag Hero!  Here is what Mayor Adame has to say about using reusable bags:

“I am so proud of our citizens who are using reusable bags and urge those who have not developed the habit to do so. It makes you feel good knowing you are becoming a good steward of the great community we live in.”