1 NEWS Community: 'There's a real public surge and desire for change' - West Auckland residents sewing hundreds of fabric bags to replace plastic ones

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A West Auckland community group committed to making Titirangi sustainable and plastic-free are being recognised for their efforts after receiving a nomination for the Zero Waste Awards.

They love their West Auckland community, but hate plastic so decided to do something about it.
Source: 1 NEWS

Michele Powles from Love Titirangi told 1 NEWS it all started when two women, frustrated by the number of plastic bags going through their community, decided to do something.

"They brought it out to a bigger group to say 'What can we do about it?', 'How can we make a change?'"

After talking to local retailers about the issue they decided they’d try and make an impact by launching Love Titirangi.

They became a Boomerang Bags' community.

The initiative that started in Australia in 2013 sees communities around the world sew bags from second-hand material to be distributed to their local community as an alternative to single use plastic bags.

"We sewed thousands and thousands of fabric bags, made bins outside the local supermarket and then launched them with a big bang," said Ms Powles.

"The idea is that we make the bags, people use them and then bring them back.

"Initially it was a bit disappointing that they weren't coming back in such big numbers, but the reality is, that they tend to go into people's cars and then they use them again when they go shopping somewhere else, so it's a win, win all round."

The Titirangi SuperValue supermarket has since reduced its plastic bag use by 60 per cent and nearly 6000 Boomerang Bags are in circulation.

"The local businesses are being super supportive. I think they are aware that there's a real public surge and desire for change."

To celebrate Love Titirangi's one-year anniversary the group decided to take part in national Bagathon over the weekend, as part of Plastic Free July. 

Positioning themselves in the local town centre with plenty of fabric and sewing machines they managed to get 100 bags sewn in just a few hours.

Along with 33 other Boomerang Bag communities around the country a total of 1808 fabric bags were sewn on Saturday.

Love Titirangi will soon be taking another step towards sustainability in the West Auckland suburb when they launch a cup recycling initiative.

"It's cupcycling basically, so you put a deposit down you get a cup and then you can bring it back to the cafe and swap it for a new clean cup and a discount on your coffee each time you go."

The IdealCup initiative was launched in Motueka last year, and has been running in a café there for a year.

"They are serving hundreds and hundreds of coffees in their IdealCups."

The work Love Titirangi has done in their community has earned them a nomination in the Zero Waste Awards’ Power to the People category. The award ceremony will be help on Wednesday 25 July.

Share your feedback and ideas with our 1 NEWS Community group on Facebook here.

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