Roleystone residents bag a winner

Roleystone residents bag a winner

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Roleystone Bendigo Bank chair Pam Edwards (left) with Roleystone Family Centre committee member Simone Huey at a Boomerang Bags sewing bee. Photograph - Toby Hussey.

A group of Roleystone residents have jumped onto the bandwagon of reducing single-use plastic bag use and made hundreds of free recycled bags for the community.

Boomerang Bags is a community-run initiative operating out of the Roleystone Family Centre.

The program has taken in donated fabrics to be cut, stitched, branded and made available as free shopping bags.

The organisation already had the local IGA and Bendigo Bank on board to help and was looking forward to reaching its benchmark of 600 bags before it would make the bags publicly available.

Deanna White is the coordinator at Boomerang Bags and said cutting the use of single-use plastic bags was enormously important for the environment.

“Instead of preaching to people what they should and shouldn’t do, we are doing something about it and leading by example,” she said.

“Everybody seems to have a fabric stash, it could be old linen or doonas.”

“We’re using those, cutting them up and turning them into bags so nothing goes to landfill.”

The initiative has jumped onto the wave made by Australian supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles to discontinue offering free single-use plastic bags by 2018.

Some reports say the plastic bags could take up to 1000 years to degrade.

Once Boomerang Bags volunteers have sewed together 600 bags they will be made available for free at the Roleystone IGA and users were being asked to take them and return them once they had achieved their purpose.

For those who grew attached to their bags – which are all unique in their colours, fabrics and textures – the organisation was asking they do the right thing and pay $5 to make their bag rightfully theirs.

“I think the honesty system will work, very much so,” Ms White said.

“I think it could work in every area.

“We’re always going to get some that don’t come back, but we understand that.”

Produced in so-called “sewing bees” at the Roleystone Family Centre, Roleystone businesses including Bendigo Bank and Bamber Cake leant support by providing sandwiches and cakes for volunteers to keep their stomachs full and their stitching straight.

The group had sewed nearly 500 bags at the time of writing and were expected to be available to the public in the coming weeks.

Once complete the bags will be available at the Roleystone IGA.

Ms White said it was important for communities to lead the way in making positive change.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” she said.

“It’s pro-active and it’s doing something good.

“It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation.”

The group was planning to manufacture fruit and vegetable bags out of old curtains once its shopping bag program had completed.