A quiet revolution is happening all over Australia, with a movement of makers helping reduce plastic pollution one bag at a time.
Boomerang Bags is a 'grassroots, community driven movement tackling plastic pollution at its source.'
In 2013 Australian co-founders Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer started Boomerang Bags with the goal of reducing single use plastic bags in their local supermarkets.
Boomerang Bags (Susan Lloyd)
Boomerang Bags give new life to recycled materials by transforming them into beautiful, unique and reusable shopping bags, as well as distributing them at supermarkets and events as an affordable (and often free!) plastic alternative.
‘I love people’s faces when they are just about to buy a plastic bag and I say 'No, grab this free one and when you’re finished give it to another person!',’ says volunteer Cassandra.
Members aim to raise awareness, community engagement, and get people thinking about the sustainability issues associated with plastic pollution.
‘It’s wonderfully liberating sewing bags that I will use multiple times. I made it!!’ - Jane.
To date, more than 57,500 kg of waste has been diverted from landfill as a result of the creation of almost 190,000 reusable bags by dedicated volunteers.
Boomerang Bags volunteers at a sewing bee
Last year Françoise Piron started South Australia’s first Boomerang Bag group: Boomerang Bags Adelaide.
‘Even though we purport to have a no plastic bag legislation in SA, this is far from true and I thought we [SA] should also get on board,’ says Françoise, who also runs The French Brace, a Facebook page about sustainability in the performing arts.
‘There is a lot of waste in my industry. I am keen to encourage my colleagues and the industry more generally to think more sustainably.'
Meeting up at The Joinery for monthly sewing bees is a ‘practical way to address the idea of decreasing our use of plastic,' explains Françoise.
'We’ve had people who come to sew and then learn more about approaching sustainable living.’
The sessions are relaxed and informal, a chance to sew, share tips, learn new skills and spend time with like-minded people.
Can’t sew? No problem, says Françoise.
'You can iron, you can screenprint, you can ask all your friends and family if they have fabric... we are keen that everyone who comes to our working bee gets to make a bag to take away - and perhaps you will learn to sew after all.'
The group welcomes sewing related donations of cotton and linen fabrics, spools of thread, irons and machines.
Story by Emma Matthews