Eco-friendly bags a one-way boomerang

The Hutt News - - FRONT PAGE - ELEANOR WENMAN

The world­wide Boomerang Bag craze has hit East­bourne – but there’s one rather big prob­lem.

As the name sug­gests, the shop­ping bags are meant to be used free of charge, washed if nec­es­sary, then re­turnedto one of the four wooden crates around the vil­lage for re-use – all aimed at cutting out sin­gle-use plas­tic bags.

How­ever, they’ve proved so pop­u­lar close to 600 bags flew out of the crates af­ter the launch on April 7, but pre­cious few have made it back.

‘‘There are lots of peo­ple jok­ing about the bags be­ing so gor­geous they don’t want to re­turn them,’’ or­gan­iser Gen Packer said.

One of the other or­gan­is­ers had been keep­ing a close eye on the crates, and some bags were fi­nally start­ing to trickle back.

‘‘My fel­low or­gan­iser texted yes­ter­day and said it looked like there seemed to be 30-odd bags in the bins, so that’s good,’’ Packer said.

She said ‘‘gen­tle re­minders’’ would prob­a­bly have to be used as peo­ple got into the swing of boomerang­ing the bags.

Still, even if the crates re­mained bag­less, she said, they would serve as a reminder to ditch the plas­tic.

‘‘We’re talk­ing about as a vil­lage go­ing plas­tic-free. We’re try­ing to get into bet­ter habits.’’

Packer said liv­ing in a sea­side town, East­bourne res­i­dents were well aware of what ‘‘ter­ri­ble’’ plas­tic could do, and lo­cals of­ten lent a hand do­ing beach cleanups.

More than a dozen women spent about 600 hours mak­ing the Boomerang Bags, start­ing from sorting the do­nated fab­ric to pin­ning and sew­ing the bags.

They aimed to make 500 bags. But they over­shot their mark and ended up with 620, in­clud­ing around 30 bags to sell, with the funds go­ing back into the ini­tia­tive.

‘‘I think we’re quite for­tu­nate in that we have about 4000, 5000 res­i­dents in the vil­lage, it’s not a thor­ough­fare, it’s at the end of the road.

‘‘We have a very tight retail vil­lage so the idea was if it can work any­where, it can work here.’’

PHIL BENGE

Amelie, Frankie and Henry help roll out the Boomerang Bag crates at the East­bourne launch over Easter.

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