Sustainable bags initiative Boomerang Bags officially launched on Thursday with a stand outside the Tumut newsagency.
The bags are free for the community to use, and the idea is that people can return them after they’ve used them.
A lot of work has gone into their creation, with sewing bees held across Tumut in the past few months, and Amanda Hobson, one of the organisers, said it was exciting to see them finally on the street.
“It’s nice, they’re here, and people have been coming up and asking questions about them already – it’s great,” she said.
Amanda’s daughter Abbey, aged nine, has also been helping with the bags.
She said it was a relief that people were interested in the stand and what the bags are about.
“I’ve been nervous, I was a bit nervous before [the launch]…but now I’m not!” she said.
One of the bags is being used as a social media tool: the Elmo bag.
Amanda is hoping they’ll be able to keep track of Elmo’s adventures as he moves throughout the community.
“What we’re hoping is that we can track Elmo’s travels, and whoever ends up with Elmo can bring him back and somebody else can write on our Facebook page with where Elmo went and what Elmo’s done,” she explained.
“He’s our little mascot bag!” added Abbey.
Various sewers have created over 200 bags with more to come, and the girls will be out at events like the Festival of the Falling Leaf encouraging people to swap out their plastic bags for reusable Boomerang Bags.
They said it was exciting their launch coincidentally took place the day after Clean Up Australia and the Project launched their #BanTheBag campaign, encouraging the only states that haven’t yet banned plastic bags – NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia – to move forward with legislation.
In the segment, media personality Waleed Aly explained that Australians are the second highest producers of rubbish per person in the world, after the US.
Plastic bags take 1000 years to break down, and Australians alone use between 4 and 6 billion plastic bags annually.