The plastic bag ban may have just reached Queensland but a movement to tackle the perils of plastic waste kicked off here several years ago. Powered by a growing network of volunteers, Boomerang Bags is diverting fabric from landfill and turning it into reusable bags, which support both the community and the environment.

How it started

Boomerang Bags is a grassroots, community driven movement that was founded by Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer at Burleigh Heads back in 2013.

Through Boomerang Bags, volunteers create friendships, upcycle fabric, learn new skills and collectively reduce the use of single-use disposable plastic items, most notably bags. Today, there are over 745 Boomerang Bag chapters globally, with around 20 of those based in the Brisbane region.

The handmade one-of-a-kind fabric bags act as a catalyst for positive change, with the social and environmental impacts extending well beyond simply replacing plastic bags. Every bag made equals another conversation – it’s about reconnecting with our humanity and becoming stewards for our beautiful planet and all life within it.

How the groups work

The growth of Boomerang Bags communities can be attributed to the simplicity of the concept.

Each new group is given an information kit that provides basic advice on how to get started, along with a pattern for making tote bags (that can be modified). Every group is slightly different with regards to where they hold their sewing bees and where the bags are distributed. The common thread between them all is that they create tote bags (and sometimes produce bags) using donated fabric that would otherwise end up in landfill.  This might come from people who have a stash that is no longer needed or wanted, or from op-shops and resource recovery co-ops/tip shops.

The fabric is then turned into bags that are both beautiful and ergonomic.

Sustainability in action

Boomerang Bags groups support the environment by:

  • helping to minimise waste both in landfill and the natural environment
  • reducing the demand for new fabric, which is energy and water intensive to make
  • upcycling no longer wearable clothing
  • providing alternatives to plastic bags and in turn saving the lives of animals.

Get involved

Boomerang Bags brings communities together by building networks of volunteers. You’ll be connecting with people from your local neighbourhood or catchment area and be part of a global network of people who create positive change.

You don’t need to know how to sew. You can cut or iron, or if you want to just hang out and learn that’s okay, too. You can get involved by:

  • joining a Boomerang Bag Community near you – you can attend group sewing bees or sew in the comfort of your own home, but still have conversations with the network
  • volunteering at event stalls or workshops
  • donating your clean non-stretchy fabrics
  • donating thread, ironing boards and sewing machines
  • providing spaces for sewing bees to take place such as a neighbourhood centre, church hall, scouts/girl guides club house, library meeting room
  • sponsoring a group to help pay for their machines to be repaired and serviced

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. Together our small ripples have the capacity to create big waves.