Farmers market has 'borrow and bring back' bags

Bags for Good co-ordinator Fiona Jenkin (right) and Otago Farmers Market manager Kate Vercoe...
Bags for Good co-ordinator Fiona Jenkin (right) and Otago Farmers Market manager Kate Vercoe display the ‘‘borrow and bring back’’ bags now available for shoppers at the Saturday market. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Dunedin's Bags for Good project has extended its support to shoppers at Otago Farmers Market by providing a stand of "borrow and bring back'' bags.

The stand holds 50 cloth bags, hand-made by Dunedin volunteers using donated fabric and curtains, that can be accessed by shoppers needing a bag but wishing to avoid plastic.

The Bags for Good bag library project is operated under the umbrella of the Just Atelier Trust, a Dunedin-based not-for-profit group that aims to connect people and reduce textile waste through re-use and upcycling.

Trust co-ordinator Fiona Jenkin said the organisation, based at the Stitch Kitchen in the historic warehouse precinct, helped people to reduce, re-purpose and re-style textiles with the support of textile artists.

"We help people to reconnect to those traditional techniques, with modern textile artists,'' Mrs Jenkin said.

"It is a great way to bring in people who grew up sewing, but may not have done it for a while, and also young people who have never been taught.''

The Stitch Kitchen hosts Bags for Good sewing bees, where volunteers make fabric bags to loan or buy through local organisations.

Inspired by international "bag libraries'', Bags for Good started in May, 2017, and since then volunteers have made about 350 bags.

"Most people are keen to use reusable bags when they are at places like the farmers market, but they may have forgotten theirs, or just don't have enough on the day,'' Mrs Jenkin said.

"So, they can go and grab a bag and, hopefully, drop it back next time.''

The "borrow and bring back'' project was launched at The Star Regent 24 Hour Book Sale in June and was a resounding success.

"It was very well received, with a lot of people borrowing bags and returning them too.''

Otago Farmers Market manager Kate Vercoe was excited to have the bags available, as they were in line with the market's zero waste aims.

BRENDA.HARWOOD @thestar.co.nz

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