Bag ban sparks sewing bee
A Blenheim op shop has been getting its sew on in preparation for Countdown Redwoodtown’s ban on single-use plastic bags.
The Hospice Shop volunteers have been busy crafting reusable bags out of recycled fabric for shoppers on the lookout for a cheap, durable shopping bag.
Hospice Shop manager Christine Law said volunteers came up with the idea at the end of last year after reading about the ban in the paper.
‘‘We started in order to give the supermarket a nod and say, ‘Hey look, we’re supporting you,’ ‘‘ Law said.
‘‘We knew plastic bags were coming to an end and we try really hard to recycle, reuse and reduce our waste.’’
The group then ‘‘volunteered their time, their power and their cotton’’ to sew together hundreds of reusable bags.
‘‘There were a core lot of ladies that were great sewers and they have - and still are - taking [fabric] home,’’ Law said.
‘‘They will whip up a bag in around 20 minutes, when they’ve got time.’’
Long-time shop volunteer Lorraine Boyce said, to date, she had made ‘‘well over 100 bags’’ out of curtain drapes, bedspreads and pillowcases.
‘‘My first bag took me around two-and-a-half hours to make, but now I can make 14 bags in around three hours,’’ Boyce said.
‘‘I make what I can, when I get the time, with my overlocker sewing machine.
‘‘Even a spare half hour can be used to cut out some handles or iron out a bag.’’
Law said The Hospice Shop’s reusable bags were available in a range of sizes, colours and fabrics.
‘‘They’ll be bags that you will use over and over again,’’ she said.
‘‘And some are really lovely bags that you wouldn’t mind slinging over your shoulder.’’
A reusable bag costs $2-$4, depending on the size, colour or fabric of a bag.
All money raised from bag sales would go back to the hos- pice, ‘‘as with everything sold in the shop,’’ Law said.
Countdown Redwoodtown was one of 10 around New Zealand selected to phase out singleuse plastic carrier bags from May 21. Signs in car parks and in store remind customers of the policy change and the charge for a reusable bag if they did not bring their own.
Countdown was the first New Zealand supermarket to announce plans to remove plastic bags from its checkouts and online shopping service for good.
‘‘I’ve found in the last three to four months, people really changed their thinking,’’ Law said.
‘‘And I think it’s really good to do that, [rather] then just give them a bag.’’
Law said when asked whether customers needed a bag or not, about ‘‘50 per cent of them’’ would now decline and, instead, ‘‘bundle what they bought into the car’’.
She said The Hospice Shop was ‘‘still taking supermarket bags’’.
‘‘We might as well use them, [rather] then putting them in the landfill,’’ Law said.
Hospice Shop manager Christine Law, left, shows off some of the shop’s reusable bags with shop volunteers Jill van Angeren and Joan Ferguson.