LAKE Bolac will trial a scheme designed to reduce the use of single use plastic bags in the community.
The scheme, called Boomerang Bags, is a grassroots movement which aims to support communities to hold sewing bees where they make re-usuable shopping bags.
The volunteers then place them at distribution points in retail outlets for shoppers to use and return when they are finished.
Organiser Karen Davidson said she hopes that the initiative will be picked up by other towns in the region.
She approached Ararat Rural City Council with the hope of showing them how worthwhile the initiative is and said she will inform them of the trial’s ongoing progress.
“Lake Bolac is a small community with a general store so it is perfect for a trial run,” she said.
Mrs Davidson said she was inspired to initiate the project after coming across some articles about single use plastics and people attempting to live zero waste lifestyles while pregnant with her second child.
“I’m by no means a zero waster but I try to live as sustainably as I can,” she said.
She was also motivated to fight single use plastics and other pollution after seeing how much gets thrown onto the roadside in Australia.
“I moved here from Germany and I was a bit shocked to see how much rubbish is on the roadsides everywhere,” she said.
“I can’t fathom it. People just chuck their McDonald’s wrappers or cans out of the window. In Germany we just don’t do that.”
Despite the prevalence of the problem, Mrs Davidson said people could be resistant to the idea of changing their habits regarding use of plastic bags.
“The main complaint I heard was that people didn’t want to pay for a re-usable bag and they didn’t want them sitting around the house,” she said.
“This way they can pick them up and use them, and return them later. It’s a win-win.”
The first sewing bee to make the bags was held on November 24 and about 70 bags were made with materials donated by Lake Bolac College, who also lent the volunteers use of the college’s textiles classroom. Volunteers learned how to do screen printing and sew pockets onto the bags.
The next sewing bee will be held in early 2019 with a date yet to be confirmed.
The first distribution point has been set up at the Lake Bolac Supermarket, with another one planned for the Lake Bolac Tourist and Information Centre in the new future.
Mrs Davidson said she aims to expand the project in 2019 and welcomes any queries.
She encouraged people to get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 0422 318 737.
The group is also collecting materials including items like material and pins, and said anyone wanting to know what they can donate is also welcome to get in touch.