Bags stop waste

June 14, 2017

Bountiful bags: Locals Bethan McKay and Casey Graham are sewing free Boomerang Bags to encourage the community to use reusable bags.

Bright and colourful bags are making an appearance all over town — and the best bit is, they’re completely reusable and free.

The brains behind the local Boomerang Bags, Barooga’s Bethan McKay and Strathmerton’s Casey Graham, wanted to offer the region an environmentally-friendly, reusable alternative to plastic bags.

It’s also a chance to educate the community on how detrimental plastic bags can be to the environment.

‘‘I’ve never used plastic bags and I saw the idea on the 1 Million Women Facebook page and I thought it was something we might be able to introduce here,’’ Ms McKay said.

‘‘So I rang the organiser who was fantastic and gave us lots of great advice.

‘‘I knew it wasn’t something I could do on my own, so Casey and I thought we’d give it a go.’’

Bags are usually available from Paddock to Pantry in Cobram, but the initial run of 50 bags was snapped up in just two days.

They’re hoping once they get a group of volunteers together, they’ll be able to restock the supply at the store.

Other businesses are also welcome to inquire about receiving bags and are encouraged to help spread the reusable bag message.

Each bag is made by hand from material that’s donated to the group, and they’re all uniquely patterned.

Five of the locally-made Boomerang Bags have also been given to members of parliament, with 138 bags recently handed out made by groups across Australia.

‘‘We saw people who were taking a plastic bag to do their shopping down the street, so we put a hook up at our work with Boomerang Bags on them to encourage people to take a reusable bag, rather than a plastic one,’’ Ms McKay said.

‘‘Then we thought we’d do a market to gauge what kind of support was out there and see whether people were really keen on the bags.

‘‘It was great, we were stoked with the positivity from people about the idea. It had also coincided with the program War on Waste being shown on TV, so it was perfect timing.’’

Ms Graham said so far, they’d whipped up about 150 bags, but were hoping to get more volunteers to help with the creating.

‘‘We’re hoping to find some people to help us out with the sewing, but if you’re not a sewer, we’d also love to have people to help us out with cutting the material, creating patterns, ironing the material and more,’’ she said.

‘‘It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time.’’

In the future, they’re also looking to create take-home packs with material and a how-to guide for people to sew up in their own time.

They’re also encouraging people to donate any spare material — for example, sheets, doonas, pillowcases or curtains — they might have lying around.

The group will be holding a bag-making bee on Sunday, June 18 from 10am at Cobram Community House, with people encouraged to bring their sewing machines along, with morning and afternoon tea provided.

● For more information, to volunteer or to donate material, find ‘Boomerang Bags Cobram Barooga’ on Facebook, or phone Bethan McKayon 0404 362 784 or Casey Grahamon 0419 164 325.

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