Shoppers at Pennant Hills in Sydney’s north are being offered free reusable bags, designed and sewn by Year 8 students from Mount St Benedict College, in an initiative which aims to give the students practical skills as well as fulfil the school’s commitment to caring for the environment.
The Boomerang Bags project was the major goal of the Year 8 Technology class at Mount St Benedict College this year and has proved a big hit with shoppers, who were delighted to receive the free bags, which were handed out by the students at the Pennant Hills Market Place.
The project grew from the students’ education on the harmful effects of plastic on the environment, especially on sea life.
“I was determined to take up this project through the information we had learnt about the impact of plastic bags on the environment,” said student Olivia Xiao.
“One of Mount St Benedict’s school values is stewardship, so our school is all about caring for the environment. This project is much about encouraging people to stop using plastic bags, to help save sea life and the natural world around us.”
Student Seren Harries said the students try to live out their school value of stewardship and make sure they do what they can to make a positive impact on the environment.
“The project was about stopping plastic bag use and with Woolworths and Coles banning single use plastic bags, we think Boomerang Bags will encourage others to use reusable bags and help save the environment around us.”
The students said the project has been rewarding on a range of fronts.
“It has been a truly amazing experience,” said Sophie Thompson.
“Seeing people’s faces light up upon receiving a bag was truly inspiring. The whole process of making the bags was fun in itself, but when we were invited to hand them out and interact with shoppers, we learnt just how big the project could be.”
Olivia agreed, saying that seeing people put the bags to practical use gave the project extra purpose.
“It’s so rewarding to see people using the bags we put so much work and effort into, and to know that the determination we put into this project is being used for good in the community,” she said.
“It’s one thing to just do a project and get a mark for it to go to your final grade, but a great thing to have work that will encourage and help a good cause.”
And Seren said the shoppers receiving the bags were pleased to be a part of the project too.
“The public have loved being able to receive a bag and know that they are helping the environment,” she said.
The girls said they hoped the Boomerang Bags might continue on with a new group of Year 8 students next year.
“We hope to see more projects similar to this continue on throughout the years,” said Sophie.
“However, the girls who participated this year will move on and hopefully a new group of Year 8s will take on the challenge.”
The students have now begun other projects that help the environment, such as making sustainable lamps.