After three months of work from volunteers, 1900 hand-created boomerang bags were distributed to 15 businesses in Beechworth, as the take-up of the cause grows in the North East.
The Beechworth Lions Club has helped drive the group and incoming treasurer Josie Cornish said the idea had received a positive response from the beginning.
“I started thinking about in January, because there were plastic bags everywhere,” she said.
“Then Indigo Council had a plastic-wise committee form, and I thought yes, we can do boomerang bags.
“We’ve been working with the Wangaratta and Yackandandah groups, and Myrtleford is also looking at starting up.”
The project began with two Gold Coast women in 2013 and there are now hundreds of groups involved across the world, including 179 across Australia.
Ms Cornish said the process of registering the Beechworth group with the organisation was simple and members of the community had donated materials and time to make the first batch.
“We have bedlinen from community people, and the two op shops have topped up the stash – there’s some material from a patchwork shop in Echuca, from a lady who has a house in Beechworth,” she said.
“The label is borrow and bring back – our motto is borrow and re-use.
“We won’t get rid of plastic bags in town, but we want to cut down on the use.”
Lions Club incoming secretary Iris Mannik said with Beechworth being a tourist town, she expected some bags might not be returned.
“We’re hoping to flood the market so it will mean we’re just replacing bags,” she said.
“Two have already gone to Sweden and two to the United Kingdom.
“We had the Melrose Primary School prep class come to check it out last Friday.
“One of the teachers asked, ‘Who knows why we should do this?’ and this five-year-old said, ‘It’s so we don’t kill all the animals in the sea’.
“We can do this – town, by town.”
Mrs Mannik said she wanted to thank everyone who had supported the group with their donations and time, including the Beechworth Indian Restaurant for offering space for production.
“The family there approached us and said they could let us have a room in the building for three years – the time they have on the lease,” she said.
“They wanted to give back to the community and they covered the power for us to use lights, over-lockers and other machines.
“They started using the bags as well, and some mornings you see customers have returned them have left them on the door handle.”