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Boomerang Bags Motueka

A community project to make free, reusable take-and-return cloth bags has begun, and their availability in High Street shops was launched early in April 2017.

An Australian initiative (hence the term "boomerang"), it is taking off in New Zealand as well. And a group of Motueka people, with the umbrella support of Vision Motueka added one further Kiwi town to the movement - said to be the fourth town in NZ and the first in the South Island.

Vision Motueka trustee Claire Hutt was one of the Boomerang Bags Motueka team. "Ever gone shopping and forgotten your reusable bag or are you just fed up with one use plastic bags?" she said. "Boomerang Bags is an initiative aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags by engaging communities in making re-useable cloth bags as a fun, sustainable alternative.

"Each Boomerang Bag is handmade by volunteers from the local community using donated, second-hand materials, keeping the initiative local and sustainable. Bags are distributed to local businesses and markets for people to use and return."

They can be returned at a later date to bins at participating shops, or simply used again the next time you go shopping in town.

The first job was to gather used or scrap fabrics and threads. Then there were community sewing bees, where volunteers helped with cutting materials, pinning, ironing, screen printing and sewing.

Over the forst few months, aropund 500 bags were made, with a small number of them being labelled "Bought to Support" where those bags were sold to owners for $5 which went to the funds for getting materials to make more bags.

By springtime another Motueka community group, Crafty Tarts, began making good quality bags, mainly "Bought to Support", to help build product numbers (this photo for example), while less frequent public working bees continued to make "Borrow and Bring Back" or "Borrow and Re-use" bags.

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