Three years ago, sisters Megan Tubb and Allie Holmes started Plasticwise Eastside, hoping to reduce the amount of plastic waste on the Eastern Shore by making reusable bags. Since then, the group has grown to a solid core of a dozen hard working volunteers. They have made about 1,200 reusable shopping and produce bags, as well as more than 100 animal pouches for Bonorong Wildlife Rescue.
Plasticwise Eastside champion climate action
Recently, they were nominated for Clarence Climate Action’s Climate Champions campaign, which shines a light on everyday people doing their bit to fight climate change.
The volunteers meet once a month.
“Our oldest member is 65 and the youngest is 22,” Ms Tubb said.
“Most people come along because they think plastic waste is an important issue and they want to take some action.
“Even though we’re just here in Tassie, we’ve got to do what we can.”
Ms Tubb said a new report from the Centre of International Environmental Law showed that plastic waste was helping accelerate global warming.
The researchers found that each stage in the production, use and disposal of plastic produced greenhouse gases, and that curbing plastic was a step in stopping climate change.
“All the second-hand material we use to make the shopping bags, which is hundreds and hundreds of metres, would otherwise have gone to landfill to create methane gas,” Ms Tubb said.
Initially, Ms Tubb and Ms Holmes thought the bags would be like boomerang bags where people would borrow them from a shop and bring them back, but that didn’t work and they now sell a bag for $2.
“We’re not trying to make money, we just want to be able to pay for the screen printing ink and service the sewing machines of the volunteers,” Ms Tubb said.
Ms Tubb said although the group had faced several challenges, they also had its successes.“Our big one at the moment that we’re really happy with is Lindisfarne IGA, they are selling our bags for $2,” she said.
“We also donated 200 bags to the Waterbridge Community Centre in Gagebrook to give to their customers.”
Ms Tubb said you didn’t need to be brilliant at sewing to be part of the group.
“I don’t sew at all,” she said.
“You can come with no skills whatsoever and there’s always something to do.
“There’s cutting, ironing, screen printing, and there’s serving tea — that’s very important to keep morale up.
“We snack, make bags and chat at the same time.”
As well as Lindisfarne IGA, the colourful bags are sold at community events such as Live Well Clarence and Warrane Community Garden’s open day.
For more information about volunteering with the group, visit the Plasticwise Eastside Facebook page.