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Group making reusable bags from recycled fabric for Avalon businesses

Darlene Payne displays two of more than 200 boomerang bags being used by businesses in St. John’s. A group called Boomerang Bags – Avalon Peninsula hopes to get more of the reusable bags made so more stores can use them, reducing plastic bag usage.
Darlene Payne displays two of more than 200 boomerang bags being used by businesses in St. John’s. A group called Boomerang Bags – Avalon Peninsula hopes to get more of the reusable bags made so more stores can use them, reducing plastic bag usage.

Darlene Payne is just throwing this out there: she’d like to see boomerang bags like the ones she makes in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.

Payne is part of a working group on the Avalon Peninsula sewing the reusable bags, using recycled fabric, for small businesses to lend to their customers. It’s part of a movement to reduce the use of plastic bags.

“The whole boomerang idea comes out of Australia, the idea that you put something out there and it comes back, hence boomerang bags,” she said.

Payne said that, like a lot of other people, she often forgets to bring her reusable bags when she shops.

“And I feel unbelievably guilty if I have to take a plastic bag. ... This way there’ll be a stack in some of the smaller stores,” she said.

The boomerang movement grew beyond Australia’s borders, and is now active in several countries, including New Zealand, Indonesia, Iceland, the U.S., the U.K., Norway and Canada. Payne said Victoria, B.C. just joined the club last week, and a woman in Corner Brook started a small boomerang initiative.

So far, Boomerang Bags – Avalon Peninsula has bags at The Bee’s Knees and Food For Thought in St. John’s. The group is working on getting them in more stores soon.

“We’d like to be able to give 100 bags to a business. I think Rocket Bakery, they’re itching to get on board because it totally fits in with their esthetic and their mindset, and what they would like to do environmentally, and the Outfitters across the way have contacted us about being part of the boomerang community as well, and we can grow from there,” she said.

The group is eager to grow outside of St. John’s, too.

“We would like to do the whole Avalon Peninsula, so I’d like to approach small places. I live out in Portugal Cove, so Tilt House Bakery would just be a perfect fit for us,” she said.

“I think this would be magnificent on Fogo Island. They’ve gone plastic bag free, so this could be wonderful for them. I’d love to see little boomerangs across the province.”

The group is happily accepting donations of used fabric — “good, robust cottons that can be laundered.” Some of the bags that have been made so far used to be curtains, sheets or tablecloths, for instance.

They’re also eager to hear from more groups and individuals who would like to help make the bags. Some are already on board, including Boys and Girls Clubs and home economics classes.

Anyone who would like to be a part of the boomerang movement can visit the group online at facebook.com/boomerangbagsavalon.

 

lpower@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyLouis

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