The community of Bundeena and Maianbar is taking a big step towards ridding their area of environmentally damaging single-use plastic shopping bags.
A Boomerang Bags scheme will be launched at the villages’ inaugural Sustainability Expo on Sunday, October 29.
Under the scheme, shoppers will be encouraged to use hand-made, reusable bags, which will be available free at local shops.
Shoppers will be expected to return the bag when they next visit.
Dozens of local volunteers have made been making the bags from donated and recycled fabrics over the last six months.
The Men’s Shed has made storage boxes and Sutherland Shire Council contributed seeding funds and stalls for the expo.
ABC personality, Craig Reucassel, of The Chaser and the series War on Waste, will help help launch the scheme.
Expo organiser and Bundeena Maianbar Chamber of Commerce president Scott Dovey said the bags were “made from fabrics such as discarded sheets, curtains and bolts of material that people have bought and not used, or which have come through an op-shop,”.
Mr Dovey said about 350 bags had been made, and production would continue because some shoppers would forget to return them and visitors to the area might take them home.
“There are two types of bags,” he said.
“The first is a general ‘borrow and bring back’ bag, which is free, and the second is of slightly higher quality, which people will keep, and it costs $10.”
Mr Dovey said the chamber of commerce had originally hoped Boomerang Bags would completely replace single-use shopping bags in the area, but there had been “some resistance”.
“Once the shops see people are getting on board, and that it will be less costly providing plastic bags, we hope to get rid of them altogether,” he said.
Mr Dovey said Bundeena and Maianbar enjoyed a unique location in the bushland of Royal National Park.
“As residents and custodians of this area, it is important we do all we can to maintain a pristine environment and create awareness about how damaging plastics can be to the environment,” he said.
The Sustainability Expo will also feature information and activities on waste reduction, recycling, solar energy, composting and worm farming, bushcare and wildlife protection.
There will be an electronic waste collection by the council and environmental art by local artists Leanne Thompson, Alison Clouston and Boyd.
The expo will also showcase how local businesses and community groups are building sustainable practices into their ventures.
The event will be held at Bundeena Community Centre, in Bundeena Drive, from 10.30am-4pm on Sunday, October 29.