A lot of attention has been focussed on some of our avoidable plastic waste – principally single-use plastic bags, coffee cups, bottled water and soft drinks and straws. Plastic products, like so many great inventions, have also created some significant problems.
The easy solution is to expect that the government will roll out plastic bag bans. While this might seem like a good solution it is too simplistic to think that it will resolve the consequences of single-use plastic pollution. So if we are to get rid of single-use plastic bags when we go shopping, we also need to think of alternative ways of carrying our food shopping home. I came across the concept of Boomerang Bags a while ago and it immediately caught my attention. Why? Because it was not just about replacing plastic bags with re-useable bags – it was about building capacity within our communities and, indeed, building communities and helping them to develop a sense of community purpose.
Boomerang Bags is a community-driven initiative tackling plastic pollution at the grassroots level.
Community groups, schools, businesses and volunteers get together to make re-useable ‘Boomerang Bags’ using recycled materials as a means to replace plastic bags.
Through Boomerang Bags we can start conversations, make friends, upcycle materials and work towards shifting society’s throwaway mentality to a more sustainable revolution of re-use – one community, one needle and thread at a time! Even if you can’t sew or don’t know how to use a sewing machine, this is your opportunity to learn and maybe make some new friends.
Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of the bags. Community-made using recycled materials, Boomerang Bags provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
More and more communities around Australia – indeed the world – are starting to get involved in the Boomerang Bag movement. One of the best things about Boomerang Bags is that the founders, Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer, have done all the hard work and set up a template for getting started. So how do you do it?
1) Build community
Boomerang Bags ‘communities’ are areas in which groups of volunteers get together to make bags regularly for the wider community to use. You can either make bags solo, join a nearby Boomerang Bags community, start a community of your own, or simply get together with friends to make a few bags over a cuppa! You can also find out if there is already a Boomerang Bag community near you.
2) Collect materials
Rummage through the linen closets of family, friends and friends-of-friends, or clean out your local op-shop for second-hand materials suitable for making bags!
3) Make Boomerang Bags!
Get together and make Boomerang Bags! You can use the templates provided, or come up with your own designs.
4) Put them to use!
Get the bags out into your local community!
If you don’t live near a current Boomerang Bags community, give them away to friends, family, colleagues, or the bagless stranger in front of you at the supermarket. Wrap presents in them, or stash them in your car and handbag so that you’re never caught without a re-useable bag when you need one!
Most groups set up a Facebook page to keep in touch and share ideas. The wonderful thing about this is that they start to have conversations about waste and recycling – in short, they go beyond the bag.
Anyone interested in setting up a Boomerang Bag community should contact Boomerangbags.org.
ARTICLE BY LA VERGNE LEHMANN