Members of SHIFT Project have drawn on Indian inspiration to repurpose the Northern Rivers trusted news source, The Byron Shire Echo, transforming newspapers into reusable bags.
Every week, women who are learning to move from being homeless to living a sustainable, productive life in the community through the project, gather to create the bags from cardboard and three sheets of The Echo.
SHIFT Project founder and Managing Director Anne Goslett said the idea from the reusable bags came from a similar bag created by a not-for-profit organisation helping to support the livelihood of rural women and providing food, shelter and education to underprivileged children in and around New Delhi.
‘On returning to Australia in May, with a bag in tow, one of the SHIFT participants dismantled the bag to use as a template,’ she said.
‘During our weekly program participants began to experiment with various resources to replicate a stronger, reinforced prototype.
‘Through a process of trial and error, we came up with the dimensions and perfected its structural integrity.’
Participants have learned about manufacturing, refining every process of production so they can make enough bags to suit demand, Ms Goslett said.
‘The participants have organized themselves into a production line including quality control through each step,’ she said.
‘From start to finish, we can make approx ten bags in a two hour session with 3 participants.’
The concept has also grown the SHIFT Project’s relationship with The Byron Shire Echo.
‘As The SHIFT participants currently work together to deliver the Echo paper each Wednesday, the awareness of supporting an independent paper, encouraged the idea to recycle giving us an opportunity to contribute to the plastic-bag-free movement,’ Ms Goslett said.
Byron Shire Echo General Manager Simon Haslam said The Echo was pleased to be involved with the SHIFT Project’s recycled bag concept.
‘The SHIFT Project is a wonderful organisation based in Byron that is transforming the lives of women and helping them to become part of the community,’ he said.
‘The recycled bag concept only adds to the skills the women develop while helping to fund the SHIFT Project and reduce the use of plastic bags.’
The bags are available in a bundle of 20 for $50.
‘The funds contribute to the sustainability of The SHIFT Project and supporting the participants to gain financial independence,’ Ms Goslett said.
Founded in 2015 the SHIFT Project is a Byron based non-government funded residential and educational program for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
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