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Sewing up a storm for the war on waste

  • August 05, 2019
  • 2 min read

Plastic Free July may have been and gone, but this isn’t stopping a group of Gippsland residents from sewing up a storm to reduce single-use plastic bags in their local community. 

Once a month, several keen sewers head along to the Yinnar and District Community Hall for a ‘sewing bee’ as part of the Boomerang movement. Using recycled fabric bought from their local Salvation Army and fabric donations from the local community, they make and donate environmentally sustainable fabric bags to local businesses to give to their customers as an alternative to single-use plastic bags.

The Boomerang movement started in 2014 to reduce plastic bag waste. Now over 950 communities worldwide participate, saving over 75,000 kilograms of waste from landfill and the communities of Yinnar and Boolarra are getting behind it.

Jane Brown coordinates the local Yinnar and Boolarra Boomerang Group, and says the amount of plastic waste is visible even in their small community.

“All you have to do is look around at your local supermarket to see just how many people are still grabbing a plastic bag because it’s so convenient. We decided to join the Boomerang movement and find a way to reduce plastic while still offering a convenient option for shoppers, so we can help change people’s behaviour,” says Jane.

“We were fortunate to receive funding this year from the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund, which meant we could buy enough fabric to make over 100 bags for our community.

“A lot of local businesses have jumped on the cause and our bags are now available for free with a borrow and bring back system from The Yinnar General Store, Boolarra Milk Bar, Yinnar Post Office and Webster’s Butchers, which we couldn’t have done with the help of Fonterra.

“While our aim is to reduce plastic waste, the group has also seen us foster stronger connections within our communities, build awareness about the importance of caring for the environment and pass on life skills, like sewing, to younger generations,” says Jane.

Members of the public are invited to join the Boomerang movement – sewing experience is not necessary. The group encourages people of all ages and welcomes anyone interested in helping fight the war on waste and learn a skill or two along the way.

Anyone who is interested in joining should contact Jane Brown on 0413 300 824, or jump onto the Yinnar Boolarra Bomerang Bags Facebook page and Instagram to keep up to date with future sewing bee dates.