Rethinking the bag: Bendigo's Boomerang Bags sustainability movement picks up speed

SUSTAINABLE: Thomas Prince and Jess Burch from BendiGo Wholefoods, with some of the Boomerang Bags.
SUSTAINABLE: Thomas Prince and Jess Burch from BendiGo Wholefoods, with some of the Boomerang Bags.

A community-driven movement to reduce the use of plastic bags is gaining momentum, with some Bendigo traders becoming permanent launching points for handmade reuseable bags.

Bendigo Sustainability Group action group, Plastic Wise Bendigo has led the charge on the worldwide initiative Boomerang Bags locally, having started on the project last year.

Leanne James said the group approached some Lyttleton Terrace traders as soon as it started on the Boomerang Bags, thinking they would be a good place to begin providing bags given their commitment to sustainability.

A number of stores in the city have stocked Boomerang Bags for customers to use or borrow, including Organics Bendigo, BendiGo Wholefoods and Freedom Bakery.

Ms James said the purpose of the bags was not only to give people a plastic-free alternative, but to promote the message of sustainability.

“We want Bendigo people to believe they can let go of plastic bags completely,” she said.

Organics Bendigo store manager Peta Hawker said the bags had been popular with customers.

The store had never offered plastic bags so customers were used to bringing their own bags, she said, but the Boomerang Bags helped fill a gap for those who forgot.

Ms Hawker said she believed the community aspect of the initiative had struck a chord, too.

“I think people really like them because it’s a community enterprise,” she said.

Darren Murphy, owner of BendiGo Wholefoods, said it was good to be part of a collective movement at the grassroots level.

He said such an initiative brought people together and enriched the community.

“It’s not a business thing, it’s a better thing,” Mr Murphy said.

Bags can also be found at La Trobe University and the monthly Bendigo Community Farmers’ Market.

So far, Boomerang Bags Bendigo has made more than 1100 bags, but is searching for more volunteers.

For information, visit the Boomerang Bags Bendigo Facebook page or email boomerangbagsbendigo@outlook.com.