Minjerribah Community (North Stradbroke Island − ‘Straddie’)
Boomerang Bags started on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) in March 2017. We had a few hiccups and still struggle just to keep a few local shops supplied with bags, as they never seem to ‘boomerang’ back. For Quandamooka Festival 2018 we gave out almost 200 freebie bags to spread the word and for community goodwill (timely as single-use plastic bags had just been officially banned). We also raffled off a donated boomerang.
Before I took over as coordinator, all profits (piddly) went straight back to the community in cash (to respite centre, wildlife care, etc). I now use any extra $$ from the sale of our fancy-schmancy bags to buy or make eco-friendly items to sell at the local markets. I make toilet cleaner, skincare items, etc, and am slowly but surely stocking a few plastic-free products (coffee keep cups, metal water bottles, shampoo and conditioner bars, etc). For visitors to our island, especially, I like to have alternatives for them to purchase; and for locals as well I am slowly trying to educate people that there are other options to plastic. For our bags, we have one ‘star’ seamstress (Carol) who does a fabulous job of making a brilliant array of bags. She gets a bit of help from her teenage grandson and her friend/s, on occasion. I travel a fair bit (especially during Queensland’s summer months) but when I’m home I do the markets and keep trying to make and source more products. Sometime down the track I may set up a website page so people could order online (though postage is usually prohibitive) and might talk to one or two hotels about supplying welcome bags for guests; possibly cleaning supplies. I am hesitant to start something if I can’t keep up with demand as I don’t want to disappoint anyone and also don’t want to overextend myself and get too stressed trying to keep up. Other than the amazing Carol, I am essentially a one-person band. I am trying to get funding to help out but so far no luck. Never give up!
Where should people donate materials?:
Sturdy and clean fabrics – even lightweight upholstery fabrics, hi-vis work clothing, old army uniforms, old doona covers if not too threadbare, etc. At the moment, please call me (Joy 0438 771 387) and I can arrange pick up. If it’s not suitable, I’ll take to Thrift Shop or use for cleaning rags.
Sewing bee details:
If anyone is interested in having a sewing/craft bee, they could phone me to discuss.