Have you heard about Boomerang Bags? The reusable shopping bags made by local community groups, schools and volunteers, with the aim to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags being used. The bags are left outside participating shops and supermarkets for people to borrow and bring back if they have forgotten their own reusable bags.
Part of the Plastic Free movement, Boomerang Bags are gaining momentum around Australia with over 35 communities currently taking part. According to the Boomerang Bags website, 4.2 million plastic bags have been replaced saving an estimated 7.5 tonnes of plastic waste from going into landfill – www.boomerangbags.org
Australia seems to be lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to banning the plastic bag with many countries taking the issue seriously by either banning the bags completely, charging a levy on bags to discourage use, or partially banning. So far South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and ACT have bans in place but the biggest states NSW, Queensland, Victoria and WA are still to take action.
Our community is taking the issue seriously with Boomerang Bags groups active in Dunsborough, Margaret River and Bunbury and IGA West Busselton has agreed to ban the plastic bag once current supply is used up.
BDEC had a chat to Chloe Simons who started the Dunsborough group to find out what prompted her to get involved.
Boomerang Bags – Dunsborough
What made you decide to say no to plastic bags and start the Boomerang Bags group?
"I had a quite sudden realisation of the impact our waste has on our planet and on our health. It is not only about plastic bags, but also plastic in general, over-consumption, chemicals in all our products, including cosmetics...Plastic bags are just a very easy plastic items to give up on and swap for a reusable equivalent. And coming from France where we adopted reusable shopping bags about 15 years ago, it was quite natural for me."
What has been the community and retailer response?
“I think so far Boomerang bags has been well accepted by our community. Not everyone will get the concept of bringing back, but that's alright! As long as people don't use plastic bags anymore... I think for retailers it is a win-win situation. They don't have to care about the Boomerang Bags, and they don't have to give away so many plastic bags for free.”
When is your next sewing bee and how can people get involved?
“Our next sewing bee will be on the 23rd of July, from 9am, at Happs Wines on Commonage road. People can contact me through the facebook page 'Say no to plastic bags in Dunsborough', or rock up on the 23rd! “
Do you work with other groups in the area?
“I am in contact with Boomerang Bags Margs and Bunbury, we meet sometimes and have joint sewing bees. Margs community is well established and they do a lot about sustainability down there! Especially for the month of July, They've got lots of events happening!”
Say No To Plastic Bags Dunsborough / Boomerang Bags Events:
Boomerang Bags - http://boomerangbags.org/
Greenpeace – Ban the Bag WA Petition: https://act.greenpeace.org.au/petitions/ban-the-bag-western-australia-1
SMH - Australia Falling Behind Third World on Global map of Plastic Bags