The idea is that the bags, made out of scrap recycled material, are distributed around businesses to hand out to shoppers as plastic bag replacements. These bags then travel around and are gradually added to by women making their own to keep and share.
In Waihi Beach the reusable cloth bag is fast becoming the only bag to step out with.
WATSAN director Jamie Short says this kind of thing would work well in Rarotonga. “It would be something women’s groups, or sewing groups could do.”
She says other Pacific islands are banning plastics, including bags and polystyrene, and they have to be replaced with something.
“This would be a nice thing for women to be involved in on the island.”
Megan Troupe of Waihi Beach helped establish the group there and says “reusable bags can be easily made by anyone in a community. All you need is recycled material which can come from sheets, curtains, old clothing, table cloths, sarongs you name it, as long as you have material, you can create reusable bags.”
She says every women’s get together was different, and always fun.
“Together the collective community of the world can help stop the spread of plastic bags, which cause so much damage to our beautiful ocean life and marine creatures,” says Troup.
Short says a number of local businesses are on board with reducing plastic waste including using paper straws instead of plastic straws, using water stations instead of bottled water, and reducing their waste one way or another.