A new initiative that started in Australia has further advanced this town’s commitment to reduce single use plastic.

Lyme Regis is joining more than 1,000 communities around the world making Boomerang Bags.

Boomerang Bags are free, and shoppers can borrow one and take it back to any of the participating businesses, which include the Royal Lion, Mariners and Kersbrook hotels, Dorset House, Bay Leaf Cottage, Clovelly, The Albany, Charnwood, Ammonite Cottage and Skerries B&Bs, Coombe Street Gallery, Aroma, Sanctuary bookshop, Galley Kitchen, Red Panda, Primary Colours, Boylos Watersports, Ryder and Hope, Serendip, the TIC and library.

Polly Benfield, of Plastic Free Lyme Regis, said: “It has truly been a community project. Call outs for fabric have been really successful - Alice’s Bear Shop kindly took these donations in.

“We have had a team of 18 cutting out and sewing bags, some working at home in their own time, others gathering round a dining table to sew each week and the U3A organised two sew-ins at Hallett Court.”

More bags were supplied by students at Woodroffe School. Led by Becca Barnes, a textile class in year nine designed and made 26 bags and plans to set up a sew-in lunchtime group as the bags are proving so popular.

Logo patches have been screen printed by volunteers and a volunteer stepped up to look after the sewing machines.

Pupils from St Michael’s and Mrs Ethelston’s and the bag makers at Woodroffe School all took part in designing a poster for the scheme, with the winners’ posters being displayed in the windows of those businesses taking part.

Polly added: “All volunteers were very excited by this community project. It’s been fun sewing together; friendships made, conversations started and a feelgood factor that we are all helping the environment – making bags, not waste.”

Boomerang bags not only fulfil Plastic Free Lyme Regis’s goals - Refuse, Refill, Recycle and Reuse - but will also be registered by Lyme’s One Planet Working Group (OPWG) under the UN Sustainable Development Goal to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse by 2030.

Belinda Bawden, town councillor and vice chairman of OPWG, said: “The Boomerang Bag scheme will be the first of many community initiatives the OPWG will be registering with the UN to help Lyme Regis work towards our climate and environmental goal to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030.”

Lyme Regis has also been shortlisted for the Plastic-Free Community Award for communities in towns, villages and cities who are coming together to take action on plastic.

The Plastic Free Awards, launched by Surfers Against Sewage, recognise champions from all walks of life, including young campaigners, community leaders, small businesses, charities, designers, entrepreneurs, sports clubs and schools with a shared mission of stopping plastic pollution.

The awards will be held in Bristol on November 21 and celebrate those making the biggest contributions to the environment.

Grenville Barr, Chairman of Plastic Free Lyme Regis, said: “We are thrilled to have got this far and it shows just how far Lyme Regis’ community has come and what it has achieved.”

Plastic Free Lyme Regis was awarded Surfers Against Sewage’s ‘plastic free coastlines approved’ status as a plastic free town in 2018.

The group is also behind the Surfers Against Sewage Business Awards, with those showing responsibility by replacing three single-use plastic items with three alternatives being added to their list. Those that have been included can be seen at plasticfreelyme.uk

Surfers Against Sewage is a national marine conservation and campaigning charity.

It founded the Plastic Free Communities movement, encourages hundreds of beach cleans and helped create positive change, including the plastic bag charge and the commitment to deposit return schemes.

For more information, visit plasticfreeawards.org.uk