Alexandra residents are encouraged to do away with plastic bags when shopping, following the launch of Boomerang Bags on Monday.
Made from recycled materials, the bags will be available from Cooney’s Clothing and Footwear, Alexandra Community House, Alexandra Public Library, and at the Friday food market.
Shoppers can borrow the bags free of charge if they forget their own reusable bags, and can return them to any of the stands around the town.
Alexandra Boomerang Bags facilitator Amy Delport said volunteers around town had managed to sew together 225 bags in three months. The movement would not have been possible without community support.
The group was also considering having a donations box for people who liked the bags too much to bring them back.
The launch was scheduled to coincide with International Plastic Bag Free Day. Other workshops held throughout the week included cut-and-sew parties to create more bags, along with a sauerkraut and kombucha-making workshop at 7pm tonight, she said.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan was also at the launch, and said he fully supported the concept.
Mr Cadogan has also signed a mayoral petition, which calls on central government to introduce compulsory charges on single-use plastic bags.
“It all comes down to individuals,” he said.
“It starts with every person taking responsibility.
“The only way you’re going to deal with it is to make it cost.”
If no-one made an effort to change their habits to look after the environment, then everyone was “doomed”, Mr Cadogan said.
Enviroschools facilitator Anna Robinson said supporting plastic-free July would help reduce carbon emissions.
“Plastics bags are made from fossil fuels.
“Supporting this is reducing your carbon footprint.”
For more tips on how to go plastic-free, visit www.plasticfreejuly.org.