A group of Taupo women keen to reduce the use of plastic bags are using recycled materials to create their own homemade alternative.
Sarah Delany said the Boomerang Bag concept started in Australia and had taken off with more than 300 groups worldwide including 35 in New Zealand.
She decided to see if there was any interest in setting up a group in Taupo after seeing information about Boomerang Bags on Facebook which she posted on the Taupo Noticeboard site.
"I suppose I am passionate about not using plastic and the environmental problems it's causing and thought that making shopping bags out of recycled materials would be a nice community thing to do."
Ms Delany said the response had been amazing with a core group of about seven women coming together to make the project fly.
Boomerang Bags Taupo now has its own Facebook page, attracting 170 likes, and was setting up as an incorporated society.
Ms Delany said the parent group in Australia had provided the group with free patterns and guidance.
They received a $500 grant from Fonterra to get started and had also been getting donations of material from the public.
An initial sewing bee attracted about 15 participants who cut, crafted and sewed about 50 shopping bags. The group was also making up sewing kits so people could make up the bags at home.
Ms Delany said the enthusiasm for the project was great.
"The women are loving getting their machines out again because clothes are so cheap these days that some of them don't sew anymore."
She said a Turangi resident who used to manufacture bags was one of many people who had come forward with offers of help.
A second sewing bee is being held on Saturday, July 29 and Ms Delany said participants didn't have to have a sewing machine.
"I'm not a sewer but I'm good at organising and there are plenty of jobs like cutting, pinning, folding and ironing."
The group hoped to make about 200 bags in the next few months and was planning an official launch at the Taupo market in September.
Ms Delany said members of the group would also take the opportunity to educate people about the negative impact plastic bags were having on the environment.
For further information go to Facebook Boomerang Bags Taupo.