Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Launching the Boomerang Bags movement in Faribault May 1, 2018


A May Day basket I received from a young family several years ago. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


MAY DAY BRINGS thoughts of baskets hung on doorknobs or set on doorsteps. A gift to a friend, a family member, a neighbor. A little love on the first day of May.



Today in Faribault, the focus is not on baskets, but on bags. Cloth bags crafted from recycled materials to replace plastic bags. It’s part of the worldwide Boomerang Bags movement being launched locally at Buckham Memorial Library.



I read about this effort recently in the Faribault paper, then saw samples of the cloth bags at the library along with a notice about an informational meeting slated for 10:30 a.m. today in the library’s third floor Makerspace.



I like the concept of choosing cloth over plastic, of making these bags and then passing them along to people in the community. The boomerang effect.

All of this I considered while I checked out books and magazines at the library on Saturday, then waited while the front desk aide slipped my reading materials into a Southeastern Libraries Cooperating bag. Made of plastic.

TELL ME: What are your thoughts on the Boomerang Bags project? Have you heard of it? Do you already use cloth bags when shopping, etc.?

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Launching the Boomerang Bags movement in Faribault”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I like this idea a lot. We got used to using “carrier” bags in Australia and they were all cloth bags as well that I continue to use to this day. The ones I have acquired recently at local grocery stores have indeed been plastic but plastic made from recycled products so I guess there is that. Makes them not quite as bad? Perhaps? I rarely use store bags because I have such a great stash of cloth and recycled plastic bags in my possession now. The Boomerang Bag project is a great one and I would be all in if it made an appearance around my town.

    • Interestingly enough, Boomerang Bags began and is based in Australia. I bet you’re not surprised.

      I, too, use cloth bags, but only when I shop at a specific grocery store which doesn’t bag groceries. I need to use them everywhere I shop.

      I’m excited about this initiative in Faribault as it also builds a sense of community when people work together for a good cause.

  2. valeriebollinger Says:

    I don’t know if they are part of the Boomerang program but we have reusable cloth bags at our library to use and bring back.

  3. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    I’ve been using cloth bags for years – at the grocery store, farmers markets, and Target. And the bookstore. I feel bad when I realize I’ve left home without one and end up using a store bag; then I always try to get a paper bag if it’s available. Hadn’t heard of the Boomerang program, but am glad to learn of it now.

    • Thank you, Kathleen, for choosing to use cloth bags. I would fully expect this of you.

      I expect the Boomerang Bags program will start catching on here in Minnesota, just like the Little Free Libraries.

  4. Great idea! I have been using reusable bags for a while – still trying to use reusable bags in the produce section and not grab for the plastic. Then there is the placing of the meat in plastic which helps me keep my reusable bags clean, but another plastic bag. I have bags for play, library, grocery, work, etc. and have them stashed in various places throughout the house and in the vehicles. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • That’s a great idea to have multiple types of bags for various uses stashed. Perhaps keeping them in the vehicle would help me to use them in places other than the grocery store. And, yes, plastic for meat…not sure how to solve that issue.

      Thanks for mostly always using cloth vs plastic bags.

  5. Bella Says:

    I like the concept but in reality hard to follow through when doing a large grocery shopping trip but keeping some in car would be a great reminder
    interesting in AZ they have banned paper bags and plastic bags only ones you find in stores unless you bring your own. it is a puzzling thing to me seems they have the reverse going on much easier to get rid of paper than plastic.

    • Yes, paper would certainly seem much easier to recycle than plastic so I don’t understand that either. I use cloth bags when shopping at Aldi, but not at the other grocery stores in town. The other three all have paper and plastic bags. I use the plastic bags to line small wastebaskets. Thus my reluctance to give them up completely. But I’m just adding to the problem by continuing that usage.

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    These are great. I use knitted bags when we go shopping at the farmers market but we generally receive plastic bags everywhere we go.

  7. I hadn’t heard of the boomerang bag movement, but totally agree! When we visited Austin the first year of travel and made an unplanned grocery store run, we were surprised to find that plastic bags weren’t used inside the city limits. We had to put our groceries in the cart unbagged (we could have purchased one of their cloth ones, but I had some already in the motorhome, but had forgotten them). We don’t use plastic bags, water bottles, or plastic straws (they all harm wildlife). I think whatever we can do to lower our personal carbon footprint makes a difference. The thought of making bags out of recycled materials to share and give away sounds amazing to me. I even had an aunt that used plastic bags to weave outdoor placements, etc.–making a bag out of them could be quite appropriate. Thanks for sharing.

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