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Boom, Boom, Boomerang!

The ultimate goal to see Martinborough plastic bag free

"The goal is one bag for every person in Martinborough, that's a target of 600 bags", Carolyn Irwin, one of the founders of this eco-initiative doesn't think small. Neither does co-founder Amanda Ra, these women mean business in the war against plastic pollution, the ultimate goal to see Martinborough plastic bag free.

The first batch of 150 bags has been released & can be found at Kitchener's, Pain & Kershaw, Wine Merchants & Neighbourhood coffee. "People are embracing the initiative with all the bags in use already". The Boomerang concept to return the bags for re-using, sharing the love around the community. "Once the target of 600 is reached there should be plenty to go around", says Carolyn, who also describes a bigger vision involving school students, design & screen printing projects - there's a ripple effect at play here, a feel good holistic, environmental initiative which will leave an indelible stamp on this small town.

It's an ethical project, born from an idea Carolyn had after seeing the Australian Boomerang Bag concept initiative via Facebook page "One Million Women". Carolyn then sewed the seed in the local community and it has taken off like a tidal wave. Local businesses have got behind it, with the likes of iconic Thunderpants providing their work space for sewing bees, Tim Holman of All Washed Up, Rustic & Timber design making collection boxes to house the bags in local shops using materials donated by Pain & Kershaw Mitre10 & local graphic team Dustys & Lulu screen printing.

There are monthly sewing bees, with volunteers giving their time sewing, ironing & the local community are being asked to donate suitable fabrics such as old curtains, duvet covers & sheets. Outside the work shops, there are locals doing ironing, and/or sewing of bag handles in their own time to contribute to the cause, there's so much work going on. Drop off points have been set up at Martinborough library on Kitchener Street & Colombo Winegrowers on Todds Road. "There's a lot of collective thought" Amanda tells us, "people see an idea and it can change behaviour, inspiring others to take it up and run with it."

This project is enhanced community action at it's best, it's easy, effective & takes nothing but a bit of time and mindfulness to become involved. There is also a wider vision - being sustainable, ethical, conscious - Boomerang bags inspire a vision, thinking about our environmental footprint, how can we reduce, reuse, recycle?

Borrow & Bring Back!

It's been inspiring interviewing these visionary ladies, Amanda describes how a change in thought can have a huge effect on our environmental impact. Clearly plastic bag usage is a huge issue both locally & globally in today's world. Seeing this initiative and the passion behind it inspires us to reconsider every day shopping habits, "many people say they use the plastic shopping bags as rubbish bins & ask how to change this?" Amanda has some ideas:
  • Keep a washable plastic bin on the bench, wash rubbish before discarding, then empty the smaller bin straight into your outside bin
  • Aim to always use reusable bags - Amanda tells us she has a stock which she takes shopping "larger items can be put straight into the car"
  • Look at ways of reducing, reusing, recycling - once you start you get hooked!
  • Change behaviours, think before having a plastic bag for every purchase, say NO to the bag, look for the boomerang, or bring your own reusable
  • Borrow & bring back - remember to return the bags for re circulation - share the love <3

How to get involved!

Firstly, volunteer to join the next Boomerang bag sewing bee, 11th May 6-8 pm at Thunderpants workspace on Naples Street. Anyone who can sew, iron and/or cut is welcome to join in the fun and help create more bags, loads of fun guaranteed.

Please RSVP Carolyn by emailing info@colombo.co.nz as they need to know numbers

If you are unable to join the sewing bee, there is the option of sewing or ironing at home, there are many ways to contribute, just contact Carolyn to find out how you can pitch in.

Secondly, donate fabric, old sheets, duvet covers, upholstery, curtains......it's all useful, yes even patterned fabric.
Remember those drop off points:

  • Martinborough library on Kitchener Street
  • Colombo winegrowers on Todds Road

The more bags going into circulation, the better the outcome for the environment. All it takes is mindfulness & action:

THINK before you take that plastic bag + CHECK for the Boomerang Bag box + RETURN your bag to be used again - easy as!

Local Sewing Bees

Whats Next? Oh There's A Planet To Be Saved

Carolyn is thinking long term, Sustainability and the ethos of reduce, re-use, recycle is a consistent theme in this project.

"We are aiming for "Borrow & Reuse" and "Bought to Support Bags" in the near future plus a fantastic initiative in the offing with Martinborough School and their 'Sustainability' themed term" says Carolyn with enthusiasm. "The community support has been incredible", there's an inspiring & infectious energy which rubs off easily. We have already started making changes, using the bags and looking for them around the community - we urge you to do the same.

We also encourage you to get behind the cause, donate your time, materials, some have even donated money which is useful for purchases such as calico for the bag handles.
Better still come along to the next sewing bee night - remember you don't need to be a sewer, there's cutting & ironing to be done.......oh, and a planet to be saved - think about it.