Boomerang Bags idea takes flight in Rangiora

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By SHELLEY TOPP

Support for Boomerang Bags, an Australian initiative established to reduce plastic bag use, is gaining momentum in Rangiora.

Claire Buckley has kick started the scheme which now has support from Rangiora Rotary, the Waimakariri District Council (WDC) Eco Educate’s Lesley Ottey and some retailers.

The environmentally friendly scheme works by organising community groups, schools and businesses to make reusable bags from biodegradable material as an alternative to non biodegradable plastic bags.

It is part of the plastic-free movement gaining momentum worldwide which aims to tackle plastic pollution at grassroots level. The scheme has now been established in many places around New Zealand.

Claire says she wants to start Boomerang Bags in Rangiora because she is an environmentally conscious person who didn’t like using plastic bags from shops.

“I also happen to love upcycling and making bags in particular,” she said.

“This initiative is so clever in that you can drop off and pick up bags when and wherever you happen to be shopping at the time, if all retailers get behind the scheme.”

Claire says she would like to see the whole community involved.

“The environment just can’t sustain plastic bags anymore. This is a brilliant alternative.”

The United Nations estimates eight million tons of plastic rubbish is illegally dumped in the world’s oceans every year which is causing huge problems for marine life.

Earlier this month a thin, sick goose-beak whale was euthanised after repeatedly beaching in shallow waters at Sotra in Norway. An autopsy revealed the whale had 30 plastic bags in its stomach, highlighting the urgent need to find plastic alternatives.

Rangiora Rotarian and Waimakariri District councillor Peter Allen says the Rangiora Rotary Club has agreed to put up an annual $100 prize to fund a design competition to promote the scheme.

The WDC and Eco Educate’s Lesley Ottey, a sustainable resource educator who works with 73 schools, preschools and high schools throughout North Canterbury, is also interested in establishing Boomerang Bags in Rangiora.

“I think it would be worth supporting and we would be happy to provide publicity around the programme,” Kitty Waghorn, solid waste asset manager says.