Community project to rid Whitianga of plastic bags

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Old sheets, duvet covers, and second-hand clothing is getting a new lease on life as Whitianga volunteers rally to rid the town of plastic bags.

And they're replacing them with bags made from recycled materials

It's an idea that Whitianga newcomer Mira Cohen first saw overseas and on social media.

She gained the support from her colleagues at Whitianga Community Services to start the so-called boomerang project.

"The concept around it is that the community get together to make the bags. We put them in a big box outside the supermarket or wherever it is and people can take the bag and then it boomerangs back either to that shop or it could be in another country as they are all over the world."

The bags don't cost anything as they are made from recycled materials and volunteers give up their time to construct them.

To make the bags Ron Connell cuts the fabric in bulk at his man cave at home.

"It makes it a lot easier than a lot of girls with scissors trying to cut these out one piece at a time."

He says he doesn't mind putting aside time for a worthy cause.

"I'll just keep cutting as much as they want, I've got time."

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The bags are screen printed with boomerang logos - some will have designs created by school kids.

And soon the Boomerang bags will be replacing plastic ones across town.

Z Whitianga manager Luana Tupou says she'll have a clearer conscious handing Boomerang bags over the counter as opposed to plastic ones.

"I mean you get at least a dozen customers a day, they fill up on fuel then they'll grab some drinks chocolate pies, and I mean it's hard enough for them to carry it all out, so they'll ask for a bag."

It is estimated New Zealanders throw away 4.3 million plastic bags every day.

Ms Cohen hopes the project will make people think twice when doing their shopping to preserve the planet for the next generation.

"It's not just having a replaceable bag for the plastic bags, it's educating people on how bad they are for the environment."

The Thames Coromandel District Council wants more ideas on how to reduce waste in the district. Submissions on the issue are welcome until the 8th of May.

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