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LEXINGTON, Ky.  – A group of students at Lexington’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts are tackling environmental issues affecting the community.

The “Bagstreet Boys,” as the students call themselves, are taking plastic, disposable bags and turning them into reusable ones, as part of a national competition.

“Plastic bags are used for about 15 minutes and then thrown away,” said Sofia Wu, a member of the team. “So, they have a very short life span, and they’re being produced at a much greater rate than we’re actually using them.”

The national competition is the Lexus Eco Challenge, which is a STEM contest for grades 6 through 12. Student teams compete for prizes, and the winning teachers, students and schools can earn thousands in scholarships and grants.

Wu came up with the idea for recycling plastic bags, because she said she wanted to more than create an environmental one-hit wonder.

So, the “Bagstreet Boys” spend their free time sorting, ironing and sewing. They create bags from bags.

“Doing this project and doing the research for this project really shows you how big of an issue that plastic bags is,” said Marianne Gebb, a member of the group.

The students donate bag proceeds to the Bluegrass Greensource. So far, they’ve made more than $350.

“It’s been really kinda humbling and fantastic that we’ve been able to have all these different people out in the community knowing who we are,” Wu said.

If you’d like to help with the project, you can drop off plastic bags at Good Foods Co-op, Cup of Commonwealth, Broomwagon and Chocolate Holler.