Boomerang Bags aim to reduce plastic bags

  • Boomerang bags, as seen here, are handmade totes and shopping bags by groups of people in communities around the world through grassroots efforts to reduce the use of plastic bags. The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is spearheading the start of boomerang bag making in Homer with sewing bees hosted at the center. (Photo courtesy Beth Trowbridge)
  • Students from the community help make boomerang bags at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies in Homer, Alaska. The center is spearheading an effort to localize the bags, which are the product of an international organization that encourages communities to make the bags as a replacement for plastic ones. (Photo courtesy Beth Trowbridge)

People in Homer are coming for plastic bags — again.

Members of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies are striving to establish a chapter of Boomerang Bags, an international sustainability movement that originated in Australia in 2013. The organization encourages grassroots efforts in communities to organize people together to make bags out of T-shirts and other materials. The overall goal is to reduce the amount of plastic bags being used in each community.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has connected with several groups of young people, both inside and outside of schools, to begin its own Boomerang Bag community.

“As part of our Zero Waste campaign … we have some funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program,” said Beth Trowbridge, executive director of CACS. “One of the problems that the Girl Scouts and the youth identified was plastic bags and their impact on ocean animals.”

The center hosts sewing bees, during which residents young and old can come help make the bags. Trowbridge said the goal is to make 1,000 reusable bags by this summer, which will be stored in businesses to be given out to shoppers.

Homer itself is no stranger to environmentally friendly movements. The city had a ban on plastic bags written into city code for a time, until it was repealed by a citizen initiative in 2013. Trowbridge said she thinks the boomerang bags will catch on in Homer once the word gets out more. One local business owner has been making them herself and handing them out to customers both local and foreign since before Coastal Studies organized the official effort, she said.

“Homer seems like it’s a good community to do that in,” she said. “It will take off because we’re all pretty conscious, too, of our impact on the environment, especially the ocean, because we play and eat and live by the ocean and we want to keep it clean.”

All the fabrics used so far at the sewing bees have been donated, and a sewing machine has been donated to Coastal Studies as well. There will be another sewing bee at the Coastal Studies building from 1:30-4 p.m. this Sunday. All experience levels are welcome.

Reach Megan Pacer at


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