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From Australia with love: the new local way to fight plastic bag use

What's Up Wednesday this week features an Australian program that is making its way to the Barrie area

An environmental initiative from Down Under is getting a push to get over here with the help of some local plastics fighters.

Emily Hoppe is the project development co-ordinator for the Barrie branch of Boomerang Bags, a volunteer-run group originally based out of Australia that aims to end plastic bag use in the world.

Hoppe told BarrieToday that it was a recent stay in East Africa that furthered her passion for helping the environment.

“I was doing research for my honours thesis on the plastic bag ban in Kenya, where you can actually go to jail essentially for having a plastic bag,” she said. “One of my friends told me about Boomerang Bags in Australia and the good that they are trying to do through their many chapters around the world. I immediately thought of my hometown of Barrie and particularly the downtown area as a great way to launch this initiative here.”

Boomerang Bags is a project that sees community members donate fabric and other textiles which are then transformed into reusable bags by volunteer sewers.

More than 800 communities worldwide are involved in the recyclable program, which has cut out approximately hundreds of thousands of plastic bags from landfills.

It is estimated that one million plastic bags are being used every minute, creating 10.46 million of tonnes of  plastic waste each year.

Hoppe says one of the main reasons people continue to use plastic bags at the grocery store is because of convenience and forgetting the reusable bags they already have.

“I’ve heard it from nearly everybody about forgetting the reusable bag they already purchased and not wanting to buy another one, but the really cool thing about this is that once you’re done with this one, you can just leave it at the store you got it from or any other participating location,” she said. “It really is a community of sharing that is wiping out plastic-bag pollution.”

The Barrie Boomerang Bags project currently has 36 bags sewn that are circulating throughout shops in Barrie's downtown, including Everleigh Gardens, the MacLaren Art Centre, Ann Green Yoga, J'Adore Fine Cheese and Chocolate, The Camphill Store, Janet Kemp and more.

The bags can later be returned to any participating location in Barrie for another forgetful environmentalist to use.

Boomerang Bags Barrie is holding their second drop-in community sewing bee this Saturday, July 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Art In House located at the Lakeshore Mews.

For more information on Bommerang Bags, click here or contact Emily Hoppe at


Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based on Barrie
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