Kiama Farmers’ Market first to go plastic free

The fulfillment of a long held ambition by the Kiama Farmers’ Market to go plastic and polystyrene free will be the focus this year’s local World Environment Day commemorations.

The initiative has been made possible with the support of Kiama Council and the enthusiasm of the new Kiama Boomerang Bags group, which will be supplying their ‘borrow and bring back’ bags to shoppers who need one.

In record time, the group has made over 750 bags, from donated waste fabric. They hope to have 1000 made by the launch date.

One of the group’s driving forces, Camilla Kerr-Ruston, says she couldn’t be happier at the way the community has come together to make Kiama Boomerang Bags a success in such a short time.

“People really want to make this happen. We live in a beautiful part of the world and we need to do our bit to reduce the damage that is being done to the environment by plastic.

“Together we can make a tangible difference.”

Apart from its free bags to borrow, the group has developed some items to sell to make its ongoing work self-funding. These include smaller produce bags, market bags and beeswax cloth (to use instead of clingwrap). All of these will be available to buy at the Market, in an on-going partnership.

Tricia Ashelford, the Market’s Manager, says its waterfront location is a constant reminder of the importance of keeping plastic out of the oceans.

“We’ve all seen the dreadful damage plastic can do to birds and sea animals, and there is a cumulative effect as it never breaks down.

“Our stallholders have embraced the idea.”

Deputy Mayor Kathy Rice says the partnership is a fantastic initiative, which will see around 800 fewer plastic bags being used at the Market every week.

“I congratulate everyone from the Kiama Famers’ Market and the Council staff who have worked to make this possible,” Councillor Rice said.

“This once again shows how innovative our community can be when it comes to solving problems to do with litter and managing waste.”

Waste Management Officer, Josephine St John says, “We’ve also been able to help stall holders prepare for going plastic bag and styrofoam free, by identifying packaging companies that supply compostable packaging such as take away containers and coffee cups.”

Council says it will evaluate the initiative before considering whether to extend it elsewhere.

Details: The initiative will be launched by Cllr Rice at the Market on Weds 7 June, at 1.45pm.

Bags available for borrowing or purchase on the day, and at future markets.

The Kiama Farmers’ Market is held at the park at Surf Beach every Wednesday, from 2-5pm.


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