Meet The “Bag Ladies” Fighting Against Plastic For Free

By Anthony K

Initially, polythene shopping bags were introduced as a cheaper alternative to paper and cloth bags. Now plastic bags have become the bane of our existence, and countries all over the world are making moves to ban them. It’s weird to think about it, but plastic bags haven’t been part of our society for all that long. Single-use plastic bags landed in Australia in the mid-1960s, meaning that there are still plenty of people who were there when plastic bags made their debut.

One such person is Mary Banks, who was in her mid-30s when it happened. She recalls the excitement in the beginning, but now sees the damage that they’ve caused. To combat this, she joined Kingston SE Small Steps, locally known as “bag ladies,” to reduce single-use plastics dirtying the environment.

Kingston SE Small Steps Reducing Single-Use Plastics

The group uses readily available items to create reusable bags. Locals donate old materials like tea towels, old curtains, and duvet covers that the women transform into reusable shopping bags. The team behind this initiative is a group of women in a retirement community. But don’t let their age fool you. With five women doing their part, they can make a bag in only 15 minutes!

ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham

The team delivers the bags to supermarkets and small businesses in Kingston for free. They encourage beneficiaries to drop the bags in amnesty boxes at supermarkets for cleaning, re-ironing, and delivery back into the market.

Kingston SE Small Steps Benefitting the Town

Making bags doesn’t just help the environment; the women greatly benefit, too. The women in Small Steps expand their social circles through the program. For some, it helps combat their loneliness, while others focus on the task at hand to let off steam.

ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham

Non-sewers can conduct tasks like ironing, turning handles, and making coffee. The group welcomes and accommodates women of all ages and backgrounds looking to make the world a better place by reducing single-use plastics.