2017-09-27

“A library of bags” coming to Lunenburg

by Michael Lee

  • <p>MICHAEL LEE PHOTO</p><p>From left, Teresa Quilty and Katherine Barrett, both from Garden Lots, pictured with several handcrafted Boomerang Bags.</p>

A group from the Lunenburg area is putting a twist on the idea of reduce, reuse, recycle.

Teresa Quilty and Katherine Barrett, both from Garden Lots, are working to bring a concept called Boomerang Bags to the South Shore.

Boomerang Bags are made out of recycled material and are meant to reduce peoples' reliance on plastic.

The volunteer movement originated in Australia back in 2013, the idea being that anyone who forgets their own bags from home can pick up a Boomerang Bag at a store and return it later - a "library of bags" as Quilty described it.

More than 400 communities around the world have Boomerang Bags up and running, including Bridgewater.

The plan is to launch the bags at seven stores and shops around Lunenburg in the first week of October, said Quilty, including Lexicon Books, Lunenburg Bound, Caico-Mae, Nova Terra Cotta Pottery, Fisherman's Picnic, No. 9 and Lunenburg Community Consignment.

"It's actually been incredibly easy to get people involved, because it is a good idea, and I think people get that we need to help people stop using plastic," she said.

Quilty first heard about Boomerang Bags from Barrett after she made a Facebook post about it earlier in the spring.

Barrett put out a call to those who may be interested in making the bags and about 20 people stepped up to help cut fabric and sew.

So far, the volunteers have made about 100 unique bags, each using different colours and fabrics.

The Lunenburg Consignment is accepting fabric donations and Quilty said the local Boomerang Bags chapter has shared grant money with the Bridgewater group to help with screen printing.

"Sewing bees," or days where volunteers come in to sew, are being planned for the last Wednesday of each month at the craft space Lunenburg Makery, while other days will be devoted to cutting fabric.

By starting small, they hope to easily replenish their supply and keep stocks up, knowing people will take their time to return the bags, if at all.

"We do want people to bring them back, but we also don't want people to feel guilty or criminal if they wind up with one," said Barrett.

Although Quilty expects some bags to disappear from stores, she said as long as they're being used, instead of plastic, then it's fine.

"So we really do want to stress that message that ultimately this is about reducing plastic. Remember your bags and if you happen to forget when you go to one of these shops that are participating, then use it."

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