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.

Community Calendar

HEARTWORN: It was all smiles from Trent McNamara and Diego Zaragoza last Sunday at the Brunswick Picture House when our community came out to support the musicians with a fundraiser that raised over $3,000. The founders of local band Heartworn Highway lost thousands of dollars of stock for their respective businesses, Little Pocket Vintage and Valiant Music, when Trent's ute caught on fire and was destroyed, along with some extremely rare and treasured musical instruments and equipment, and their personal belongings. Photo: Lyn McCarthy

This week's Byron Shire News Community calendar

Council to request continuation of shark spotting program

Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Byron mayor says trial was a fantastic success

Carlos Santana added to Bluesfest 2017 line up

Carlos Santana at Bluesfest 2013.

Calling all local black magic women

Local Partners

The Space Cowboy, our Prince of the Impossible

The Voodoo Review is on this weekend but you can also see him live in a solo gig next week

Circus, acrobatics and comedy by the Dandyman

LOCAL: Byron Bay artist and performer Daniel Oldaker.

LOCAL artist Daniel Oldaker trained with Phillippe Gaulier,

Community Calendar

HEARTWORN: It was all smiles from Trent McNamara and Diego Zaragoza last Sunday at the Brunswick Picture House when our community came out to support the musicians with a fundraiser that raised over $3,000. The founders of local band Heartworn Highway lost thousands of dollars of stock for their respective businesses, Little Pocket Vintage and Valiant Music, when Trent's ute caught on fire and was destroyed, along with some extremely rare and treasured musical instruments and equipment, and their personal belongings. Photo: Lyn McCarthy

This week's Byron Shire News Community calendar

Council to request continuation of shark spotting program

Multiple people attended the scene at Lighthouse Beach where a shark attack took place around 9:30 on Monday morning. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Byron mayor says trial was a fantastic success

Carlos Santana added to Bluesfest 2017 line up

Carlos Santana at Bluesfest 2013.

Calling all local black magic women

King Kyuss wins world silver

LIKE A KING: Byron bay's Kyuss King has taken second in the 16 Boys Division at the 2016 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships at Azores in Portugal.

Kyuss King has scored a second at the World Junior Championships

Why we're the top spot for mobile tourists

Caravanners and campers spend an average $152 a night in our region.

Our region is the top spot for caravanners and campers in the state.

Monster hospital sale coming soon

HOSPITAL AUCTION: Mullumbimby and Byron Hospitals will be having auctions of excess equipment.

There will be a monster garage sale at Byron hospital next month.

Circus, acrobatics and comedy by the Dandyman

LOCAL: Byron Bay artist and performer Daniel Oldaker.

LOCAL artist Daniel Oldaker trained with Phillippe Gaulier,

Carlos Santana added to Bluesfest 2017 line up

Carlos Santana at Bluesfest 2013.

Calling all local black magic women

The Dixie Chicks to headline 2017 CMC Rocks festival

US country music group The Dixie Chicks.

ORGANISERS move festival dates to lock in US country music stars.

What's on the big screen this week

Denzel Washington in a scene from the movie The Magnificent Seven.

DENZEL Washington returns in a shoot-em-up Western.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E3 - Which picnic date is better?

The Bachelorette Georgia Love, centre, with her top 11 bachelors.

Lee and Matt get some one-on-one time with Georgia.

Homer Simpson thanks Australia during Opera House visit

Homer Simpson visits the Sydney Opera House.

ANIMATION favourite gets attacked by seagulls in viral video.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.

3500 jobs on the way with new $950 million resort

Residential, tourist, community, and open space on Hummock Hill Island.

PROPERTY developers plan to begin construction next year.