Gone shopping without a bag . . . have you used Borrow Bags?

PUBLISHED: 15:07 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:07 05 September 2018

The East of England Co-op has introduced the 'Borrow Bags Scheme' at its stores in Felixstowe and Walton Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP

The East of England Co-op has introduced the 'Borrow Bags Scheme' at its stores in Felixstowe and Walton Picture: EAST OF ENGLAND CO-OP


The Felixstowe-based community scheme is growing in popularity and this month the East of England Co-op has become the first large retailer to join the environmentally-friendly scheme.

Borrow Bags allows customers in shops which are part of the project in Felixstowe and Walton to use shopping bags which are handmade by local volunteers using upcycled clothing, pillow cases and material, and each features a green triangle.

The Borrow Bags Scheme is now in place at four of the East of England Co-op’s stores including its supermarket on Hamilton Road and its convenience stores on King Street, Wadgate Road and on Walton High Street.

Other local retailers which have signed-up so far include the Wine Boutique, Pierrot, Sausage Shop, The Flying Lady, Deben Butchers, The Bakery, Maddie Posh and Fruit and Flowers.

Borrow Bags was founded in April this year by resident Gemma Smith. The innovative scheme provides shoppers who have forgotten a shopping bag, or end up buying more than they expected, to borrow a bag rather than purchase a plastic one.

When finished with the bag, they can return it to any participating store, all of which display a green triangle.

Participation will help the East of England Co-op to continue to reduce its carbon footprint and the retailer has also donated 200 Fairtrade cotton bags as part of its support for the scheme, helping bring the total number of Borrow Bags in circulation to 400.

Gemma Smith, said: “We are so pleased that the East of England Co-op has decided to join the Borrow Bags scheme. Together we are helping our local community protect our planet and become more conscious of the environment.

“The scheme is supported by a wonderful group of volunteers that come together to help us sew the bags that make a real difference in our community. It is also a great way to make new friends!”

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “When our colleague Veronica asked if we would participate in the Borrow Bags Scheme, we were keen to do as much as possible to provide our support.

“Back in 2008 we made the decision to stop giving away single use carrier bags and we now only offer reusable bags made from compostable or recycled materials. By joining forces with Borrow Bags, we are now pleased to provide another environmentally-friendly option in Felixstowe and Walton.”

Borrow Bags hopes to get youngsters involved in the scheme by helping make and decorating the bags. In doing this it wants to encourage a more personal investment and care for the bags, and an interest in where the bags go and where they turn up.

Local residents interested in helping to create the bags will be able to join other volunteers for a sewing session at Rosemary Community Café on Stennetts Farm or St Johns Church on Orwell Road. To find out more information about Borrow Bags’ sessions please visit the Borrow Bags Facebookpage

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