PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It all started with an average trip to the grocery store.

Peydon Twing and his longtime girlfriend Kate Mahoney went to the Big Y, stocked up on ingredients to make their favorite cocktails and started the trek home to Hollister Street.

But then, something terrible happened: the grocery bags bottomed out and the couple found themselves chasing oranges down the sidewalk.

“I had to grab everything like a baby,” Twing said, noting the seltzer he purchased exploded upon opening. “It was obnoxious.”

Twing and Mahoney were determined, however, not to let history repeat itself. They set to work designing the type of bag that wouldn’t let them down the way the cheap, store-bought reusable bags did. He had the silk press and canvas to spare, and she had the sewing prowess.

They created a few bags for their own shopping needs, and then they began turning heads.

“A bunch of her friends loved them,” Twing said.

As Pittsfield considers a plastic bag ban in the city, they’re selling the finished product more widely under Twing’s business, PJT Print Screening, using social media to launch the line. Designs on the bags are his own, like one with a Ninja Turtle-esque slice of pizza accented by a swirl of gold stripes. He could also produce custom designs on the bags they built, Twing said.

Twing said he chose the ultimate grocery item to test the bag’s sturdiness: the 20-pound box of cat litter. Their creation endured, he said.

“You can jam a lot of groceries in there,” he said, opening up the bag to reveal its depth.

The bags are washable, he said, and the ink he uses is environmentally friendly. The smaller bags cost $15, and the full-sized bags cost $22.50.

The City Council Committee on Ordinances and Rules will hear feedback from city businesses regarding the bag ban proposed by the Green Commission during its meeting on March 5 at 7 p.m.

Twing said the endeavor is about more than making a few bucks. He said he’d like to do his part to keep the Berkshire environment clean.

“We kayak and bike around Pittsfield all the time and there’s plastic everywhere,” he said. “It would be nice to see less garbage and stuff around. The town and the stores showing the initiative will hopefully make people come around.”

Online: http://bit.ly/2EGdY3p

Information from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com

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