Ban the plastic bag is the message from these four ladies at Bangalow (from left) Jo Immig, Grace Clancy, 14, and Cate Clancy, all of Bangalow, and Ali Toft, of Byron Bay..
Ban the plastic bag is the message from these four ladies at Bangalow (from left) Jo Immig, Grace Clancy, 14, and Cate Clancy, all of Bangalow, and Ali Toft, of Byron Bay.. The Northern Star/David Nielsen

Bangalow's campaign to rid world of plastic bags

WHILE placards and protests used to be the tools of trade for environmental activists, in Bangalow they use old sheets and curtains from an op shop.

These second-hand fabrics are the secret weapons of a friendly group of local conservation 'guerillas' who are using their sewing machines to save the environment, and make Bangalow the first plastic bag-free town on the Northern Rivers.

The women are part of the global Morsbags project, dedicated to making genuine 'green' shopping bags from donated recycled fabrics such as old sheets and doona covers that would otherwise end up in landfill.

“The bags are made locally by volunteers and given away to shoppers to encourage them to give up their plastic bag habit,” said Morsbagger Jo Immig, of Possum Creek.

The group, one of 687 Morsbags 'pods' worldwide, meets at members' homes to sew up a storm and socialise, and has so far donated 800 free bags to local shoppers through the Bangalow Farmers Market.

Their goal is to educate shoppers and help persuade retailers in Bangalow to rid themselves completely of plastic bags.

The town appears to have embraced the concept: The Anglican Op Shop donates fabric and when Ms Immig and fellow Morsbagger Clare Hopkins surveyed local shops they found 70 per cent were now plastic bag free.

“In marine environments, plastic bags are a serial killer,” she said. “Marine wildlife often mistakes the bags for jellyfish and eat them.”

The whale, fish or turtle died from intestinal blockage, and the bag floated to the surface awaiting the next victim.

To get involved in the local Morsbags project email boomerangbags@ hotmail.com or visit www.morsbags.com to download a free pattern for a recycled fabric shopping bag.



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