News

Recycled bags are 'boomeranging' to help environment

Hard at work at "sociable guerrilla bagging" in Bangalow are (left to right) Tom Lockhart, Zoey Hopkins, Mahalia Taal, Erin Wes
Hard at work at "sociable guerrilla bagging" in Bangalow are (left to right) Tom Lockhart, Zoey Hopkins, Mahalia Taal, Erin Wes

In Bangalow there's a whirr of sewing machines all hard at work creating beautiful bags, and the surprising thing is that it's not women, but teenagers, both boys and girls, bent over fabric and thread, with background sounds of something heavy and metal spurring them on.

During school holidays it's the junior arm of Boomerang Bags, formed in March by local women Jo Immig and Clare Hopkins, that is out to do its bit to save the environment by making cloth bags out of recycled material.

Boomerang Bags came about after Clare, idly surfing the net one night, came across a site created 12 months earlier by an Englishwoman driven to action after the news that a minke whale washed up was found to have died of starvation because of plastic bags in her stomach.

There are now 550 "pods" around the world creating plastic bag substitutes, with Boomerang Bags, one of the pods, proud to have so far sewn 188 bags in their group sewing circle.

The colourful bags are created entirely from old clothes, curtains and tablecloths donated by the Bangalow Anglican Op Shop, items they cannot sell because of stains or tears and which they would otherwise have to pay to have taken to fill up the tip as landfill.

So the Op Shop is saved some of the trouble and expense of rubbish removal (on average two trailer loads each week) while the team simply cuts around the tears and stains to create a bag which they then hand out for free to startled locals.

But while their sewing circle is a sociable time of great conversation with tea and cake over the bag making, they have a very serious purpose.

"Jo and I decided to make Bangalow the first plastic bag-free zone in the Northern Rivers by the end of 2009," said Clare.

"We want to have discussions with the shopkeepers to talk about options.

"There won't be any one solution, but we've decided recycled bags made locally are the cr?me de la cr?me."

Besides meeting regularly to make bags, additional activities are boomeranging out in all directions, with Jo and Clare to demonstrate the making of the bags to young people at the Byron Youth Activity Centre learning to sew on industrial machines as well as to people with disabilities and their carers at Ocean Shores. They extend a warm welcome to anyone wanting to come along to sew and cut out, and especially to anyone wanting to learn the process to go off and set up a "pod" of their own.

Contact boomerangbags @hotmail.com for further information, and to learn about the original idea go to morsbags.com


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Latest deals and offers

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

LOCAL iconing drag queen Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Our rail could roll again on Byron line

BACK IN THE DAY: The old motorail express leaving Byron. The picture comes from the book Time and Tide Again courtesey of W. Brian Alexander

Friends of the Byron Line will be founded today.

John Williamson winding up for another Gympie Muster

John Williamson is bringing some new songs and artists to this year's Muster.

John Williamson is back and ready to put on his best show ever

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m