Emily Hunt, a board member of the St. John’s Farmer’s Market, is bringing Boomerang Bags to the Avalon Peninsula. Customers can pick up the reusable bags for free with their shopping and return them to businesses at their own convenience. 

“We all have re-usable shopping bags at home, but if you’re like me you forget them sometimes. So the idea is they’re already there, free for you to use so you don’t have to take that plastic bag home with you,” Hunt explained.

Boomerang Bags is a grassroots movement that began in Australia and gained global traction. It aims to reduce plastic waste by donating bags made from recycled fabric to stores. Boomerang bags currently has 15 Canadian chapters, including one in Corner Brook. Hunt saw a Facebook post about the organization and was inspired to get a team together here in St. John’s.

“I just wanted to do something to reduce waste, you can’t go for a walk without seeing plastic bags collecting in the bushes or caught in trees,” Hunt said.

Although they are just a small group, the Avalon Peninsula Boomerang Bags chapter has already made close to 200 bags. They will be launching this week at Food For Thought and soon you’ll be able to pick up their bags at The Travel Bug, The Bees Knees, and the Natural Health Food Store.

The organization is asking any business interested in carrying Boomerang Bags to get in touch; they want to make the bags as widely available as possible.

The local Boomerang Bags chapter is also looking for individuals and organizations who’d like to get involved by either donating used fabric or sewing some bags. The bags are made with a pattern that the group is happy to share, but they don’t insist people stick to it. The variation in fabrics and styles makes the bags fun and unique.

“They’re really funky and cute because the fabrics that have been donated are totally random, they could be any colour and any pattern. They’re not gigantic, we want you to be able to put your jar of pickles in there and get it home safely,” Hunt said, describing the bags.

Graphic Designer John Andrews donated a silk-screen of the organization’s logo, which is featured on a pocket on the front of very local Boomerang Bag. Anyone interested in sewing bags can either pick up silk-screened pockets from the organization in advance or attach a light coloured pocket where the organization will silk-screen their logo later.

The Boys and Girls Club of St. John’s has already approached Hunt about picking up some pockets. They plan on making Boomerang Bags as an Arts and Crafts activity.

Hunt would love to see more youth organizations get involved and hopes local schools will consider making the bags in home economics classes. She sees the bags as an excellent opportunity to teach some sewing skills while also starting a conversation about environmental awareness.

“A huge part of it for me is just getting people to think about waste. I want kids to start thinking about how plastic bags are never going away. You might throw it away but chances are it’s going to end up in the ocean or a dump forever,” Hunt said.

Anyone interested in carrying Boomerang Bags in their business, donating fabric, or making bags can contact Hunt through the Boomerang Bags – Avalon Peninsula Facebook page.