A few weeks ago I met a lovely lady called Jude Furniss. She is someone who I have wanted to meet for a while. She is a local, she is president of the Surfriders Foundation (Manly branch) and she is also the community leader of Boomerang Bags here in Manly. She is passionate about protecting Australia’s waves and beaches through conservation and activism and her enthusiasm is infectious.
Did you know an estimated 50 million plastic bags end up in our waterways and marine environment in Australia every year? Plastic pollution is killing our marine life. 30% of the world’s turtles and 90% of seabird species have now ingested plastic debris. (source: Greenpeace)
After our meeting, it became apparent to me that Boomerang Bags was something that I could help with. Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in making shopping bags. They use recycled and second hand materials donated by individuals and businesses. So far they have made over 48,000 bags nationally.
Locally, a campaign called Plastic Free Manly is aiming to to make our community plastic bag free by sighting Boomerang Bags as one of it’s possible solutions. That’s my kinda gig! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I pop into the shops only to forget my shopping bags and then resort to a plastic bag. I scurry out of the shop carrying it (the walk of shame), pledging to do better next time!
The initiative is trying to persuade local businesses to have a box of Boomerang Bags available for ‘the forgetful’ which can then be dropped back when next shopping. There are already a few businesses on board, notably The Butcher & The Chef inside Harris Farm Food. They have been huge supporters of Boomerang Bags. Within the next 2 weeks, the aim is to sign up at least 20 more local businesses.
I bumped into Jude in the playground last week where she was asking the parents if they could make the shopping bags from the kits she had prepared. I grabbed a bundle off her. I was given a pre-cut front, back, handle & pocket along with the instruction sheet. I spent a rainy day sewing seven of these beauties, here is the result.
Boomerang Bags Manly are launching at the Ocean Care Day Festival on the Beachfront on Sunday 4th December. If you are local, pop along and meet Jude (she’s awesome). There are some great activities happening too; a Seaside scavenge, live music, roving artists, eco talks, a “touchable” Ocean Lab and lots of great eco exhibitions and stalls celebrating our oceans.
I would love to get as many Manly locals involved in making as I can. If anyone has use of a large space that they are willing to share for a day, I would love to hear from you. I would really like to get a large group together, sewing in a group is so much more fun!
Boomerang Bag Manly at 63 Alexander St (Cnr Balgowlah Rd) is open on Monday’s from 9.30-2.30pm, so drop in if you have a spare hour or two, there is always space to sew.