The group reducing plastic, one hand-sewn bag at a time
AN ENVIRONMENTAL initiative has hit momentous milestone and kept tens of thousands of plastic bags out of landfill in the process.
Boomerang Bags Whitsundays has clocked over an impressive 5000 hand-sewn bags since its humble beginning.
The group has been operating in the Whitsundays for about three years, making the bags out of recycled material that people can borrow for free to do their shopping.
Boomerang Bags Whitsundays co-ordinator Barb Adamson said since the group started making the bags, they had given away just over 5000 in the Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Jubilee Pocket and Proserpine area, and sold almost 400 at market stalls.
“It wasn’t a small process when I began down this road. I saw it online one day and I thought ‘wow, what a great idea’, and it went from there,” she said.
“It took about a year of planning and asking places if they would use the bags before we started up, but the response now is just overwhelmingly positive.”
The number of dedicated Whitsunday volunteers fluctuates to as many as 20, however Mrs Adamson had some special help from the Townsville Correctional Centre, which has assisted in making more than 4000 of the 5400 bags.
The organisation is completely volunteer run, with all time and products donated by the community. Any money raised by selling boomerang bags goes directly back to servicing sewing machines or buying new equipment.
“Getting the women from the Townsville Correctional Centre is one of the most rewarding things about this project,” she said.
Initially it was the Bowen Correctional Work Camp who helped the organisation, but through a series of events Mrs Adamson was able to move the manufacturing to Townsville.
“I’ve gone in and helped them, and it’s just amazing to watch these women get something out of sewing,” she said.
“I’ve had some of them turn to me and say when they’re out, they want to use their new-found skills and continue making bags. Who knows, it might lead them to jobs as well.
“The correctional women have been instrumental to helping keep up with demand.”
Boomerang Bags has also adapted with recent community struggles, having helped sew pouches for injured animals during last year’s bushfires and most recently sewed face masks for Proserpine Nursing Home.
“Everything we do is to help the community and help local businesses while reducing our environmental footprint,” Mrs Adamson said.
“The next move would be to find a permanent home, as I store a lot of things in my house and it’s getting a bit full.
“We’ve kept so much plastic out of the ocean and landfill, so let’s keep it going.”