You’ve made some bags, now what to do with them?
When it comes to distributing bags, the world is your apple (oyster?). Get creative!
Boomerang Bags isn’t about replacing all the plastic bags used in the local supermarket (we couldn’t possibly make them fast enough!). Instead, think of ways that you can use the bags as a tool to start conversations and inspire people to change their plastic bag habits.
Below are just a few ideas that have worked well within existing communities.
Gift the bags to friends, family or colleagues
- Birthdays, Christmas presents, or just to spread the love, Boomerang Bags make a thoughtful, local, sustainable and world changing gift!
Stalls at local events
- Set up a stall at your local market, community event, car-boot sale, school fete or similar, displaying your bags, giving them away or selling them by donation. Stalls could be interactive – perhaps passers by could make a pledge to go plastic bag free, make their own ‘no-sew’ t-shirt bag, or take home a ‘take-home-&-sew’ kit (link) to make their own boomerang bag at home!
- Bag-Bombing – set up a pop-up stall at the local shopping centre and give bags away to passers-by who dont have their own reusable bag. If they’re carrying a plastic bag, offer them a reusable bag and while they’re emptying the contents of their plastic bag into their new boomerang bag, have a chat with them about how the bags are made, and why remembering to BYO bag is so important.
- Host an event (film screening or similar) to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Give the bags away at the event, empowering people to be part of the solution!
- Stalls and events are also a great place to sign-up volunteers.
- Implement the bags in a local council, corporate office or your own workplace so that staff aren’t caught without a reusable bag when doing their lunchtime or after work shopping. Have the bags available in a small crate or hanging by the exit of the office so that the can’t be missed! Make it fun – it could be a challenge for the whole workplace to be plastic bag free by a set date, and offer incentives or prizes when it’s been achieved.
- Make the bags available at local tourist accommodation, bed and breakfast, AirBnB’s and so forth, so that visitors can have a plastic bag free holiday! This is also a great way to spread the message and story, as well as showing pride for the health of the local community and environment.
- Have the bags available at the local Tourist Information Centre
Schools and kindergartens
- Give a talk to your local kindy or primary school. Provide them with plain, light coloured bags to decorate with fabric pens then take away again to sew up. Present them with the completed bag a week or two later to use as a library bag or give to their mum or dad. This is a hugely popular activity amongst Boomerang Bags community members who have young children/grandchildren.
Conferences and events
- At this stage, there aren’t too many companies that make reusable bags locally, let alone using recycled fabric! With the wonderful momentum around sustainability and waste increasing, many conferences, events and organisations look for sustainable options for their delegates to use at the events. Boomerang Bags are an appealing option, and a win-win for all involved – the company demonstrates their commitment to sustainability, support and collaboration with local organisations/causes; the delegates get a funky Boomerang Bag that they can cherish for themselves, pass on to someone in need, or they may even decide to start a local group themselves!
Partner with other groups and organisations
- Days for girls – https://www.daysforgirls.org
- Orange Sky Laundry (Homeless support)
- Oz Harvest
- Donate or sell the bags to a local store to have by the counter for when people forget to bring their own bag. The bags could be sold for a small donation to support your group to make more bags (this is up to your community and what you think will work best)
- Along with providing bags, support the store to implement other strategies to help their transition away from plastic bags, and to support their customers to BYO bag. See ‘How can your local store get involved?’ for some ideas
There are many ways that businesses can work towards being plastic bag free and be part of Boomerang Bags. Here are a few ideas that stores could implement to help their business and customers with this transition:
SIGNAGE AND DISPLAYS
Display signage throughout the store to trigger customer memory to remember their own bags, as well as to promote the store’s efforts to phase out plastic bags and recognise their participation with Boomerang Bags. Provide customers with ‘Have you got your reusable bag?’ door hangers as a reminder to bring their own bags from home.
SUPPORT THE LOCAL BOOMERANG BAGS GROUP
Advertise upcoming Boomerang Bags working bees or events in-store as a means to garner interest and volunteers to support the project locally. Provide ‘take and make’’ boomerang bag kits (provided by the local group), to encourage customers to make their own bags. Become a drop off point for fabric donations.
Provide incentives for people who bring their own reusable alternatives. It could be a free ticket into a raffle drawn monthly, a small gift or discount.
Provide free or inexpensive alternatives to plastic bags, for example: recycled cardboard boxes, boomerang bags, other reusable bags, recycled paper bags, etc.
Ensure staff are trained around the importance of reducing plastic, and encourage them to communicate this to their customers. For example, using phrases like “Do you have your reusable bag with you?” rather than “Would you like a bag?”
Host regular or one-off events to create conversations about fostering sustainable habits, for example: Boomerang Bags volunteers set up a table outside the business for a day, to give away bags and have conversations with customers. Hold DIY bag-making workshops or sew-a-thon’s.
Boomerang Bags Nambour (QLD, Australia)
“Our group is small. We focus on sewing really nice quality bags, we match colours and threads, we want to have people proud to use our bags, so we certainly aren’t pumping them out in massive numbers, but we also sew in a local place that works with people with disabilities, so we help them sew and we engage them too. We have our first shop taking 50 bags next week and have two more waiting, we are slow and steady”
Geraldton (WA, Australia)
“I think the personal touch has a good impact. I’ve been making paper bin liners and putting a Boomerang Bag in it, then gifting to various people. The feedback and talk about saying NO to plastic bags has been amazing …I love promoting Boomerang Bags.”
Dayboro (QLD, Australia)
Our group is all about making a difference however we can. People are shocked when I say that we aren’t putting our bags at the IGA, but when I explain they would go through dozens of bags a day, and we have 6 or 7 sewers and that 1 bag can take 4 or more hours to make, they get it. I have noticed just recently that our IGA checkout chicks are starting to ask people “Do you need a bag?” when they get to the checkouts. This is such a shift – it puts the responsibility back onto the consumer to make a change, and consider their own actions. I feel like our little BB group has had something to do with that in our town.
Sunbury (VIC, Australia)
We’re finding that our local market is a huge awareness raising exercise. last market we stopped a few people walking past with plastic bags and swapped it for a BB bag….gave us a chance to tell them what we were doing and why AND they walked away with a beautiful bag! Great positive response…except our numbers of bags are going down again! Hahaha.
Phillip Island – Vanuatu (Kylie)
A volunteer came to donate a doona, and she never left.
Dulwich Hill (Sydney, Australia)
“WOW what a great day at Marrickville Festival 2017! We gave out all the Inner West Bags and got lots of support for a NSW ban on plastic bags. I will be sending these signatures directly to Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Thanks to our great friends Suzanne and Paul at Village Wholefoods & Bulk Foods. Lots of good conversations and more people ready to join the Dulwich Hill Boomerang Bag movement.”