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Caption: Sewing stars . . . Fairlie Resource Centre's Anne Thomson (left) and volunteer Kathy Pettengell sew for Borrow Bags Fairlie. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Sewing machines have been whirring away in Fairlie, as piles of reusable bags accumulate across the district.

Fairlie Resource Centre co-ordinator Anne Thomson said volunteers had been making the cloth bags for Borrow Bags Fairlie.

The scheme, started by fellow resident Holly Lane, would provide reusable cloth bags around the district, including Tekapo, Fairlie and Twizel.

These included shopping bags, lined bags for wet clothing that would be donated to kindergartens in the district, and library book bags.

It was hoped to have the bags out in the community by September, Ms Thomson said.

Sustainability had been on the Mackenzie agenda for a while, she said.

“We’ve been doing this for years.”

She said “new” projects around the country, such as food cupboards, had always been part of Fairlie life.

There had been a big focus on recycling including the Saturday morning second-hand markets near the resource centre.

All the fabric for the reusable bags had been donated, and some of the funds raised from the market had even been used to pay for the screen-printed logos on the bags, she said.

The market had also raised money to put in a new bus shelter by the BP Station in the town.

The resource centre was continuing its sustainability practices, selling reusable mugs, the Mackenzie District Council-supported waste-free parenting packs and the natural, locally-made products from Bramblewood Homestead, Ms Thomson said.

Mackenzie Community Development Fairlie representative Kylie Murphy was also working on a sustainability festival, to be held in Fairlie in late October.

It would include a variety of workshops including how to make your own laundry powder, beeswax wraps, and toothpaste, and another on composting, she said.