November 12, 2018
When the plastic ban came into action in Queensland this year, Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer didn’t have to change their behaviour at all, they had plenty of bags lying around! That’s because they had already started a grassroots, community driven movement to divert fabric from landfill by turning it into reusable bags that support both the environment and the local community.
The idea is simple enough. Volunteers from all walks of life get together to upcycle old fabrics headed to the landfill into re-useable ‘boomerang bags’, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
“The bags are made available to local communities through markets, events and festivals, libraries, schools and businesses to provide sustainable alternatives to plastic, creating conversations about the importance of re-use, caring for our planet and each other and fostering sustainable behaviour,” co-founder Jordyn de Boer said
From humble beginnings in Burleigh Heads the Boomerang Bags initiative has now grown into a global powerhouse of community-driven sustainability efforts. Over 860 Boomerang Bag communities now exist all over the world, making over 200,000 bags and diverting over 62,000 kilograms of fabric waste from landfill.
The bags are given away to friends, family, colleagues, bagless strangers and so on, as a plastic bag alternative that can be used and reused or passed on to others in need.
The bags create a platform to start conversations, make friends, up-cycle materials and work towards shifting society’s throw away mentality and obsession with plastics to a more sustainable revolution of re-use – one community, needle and thread at a time.
Planet Ark’s Recycling Programs Manager, Ryan Collins, sees Boomerang Bags as an excellent example of community-driven waste management initiatives.
“As much as we all would like government to step in and fix the problem, until they do we have to find means of taking these issues into our own hands,” Collins said.
“Boomerang Bags success shows the appetite for these kinds of local initiatives that are good for our environment and our community.”
Visit boomerangbags.org for more information on Jordyn and Tania and the Boomerang Bag story.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.