From flags to bags: hundreds of kilos of Maitland flags and banners turned into carry bags

Trashion statement: Maitland Council's Matt vanderWall and Kate Henry with a selection of the recycled bags at the Tourist Information Centre on Wednesday. Picture: Lachlan Leeming.
Trashion statement: Maitland Council's Matt vanderWall and Kate Henry with a selection of the recycled bags at the Tourist Information Centre on Wednesday. Picture: Lachlan Leeming.

Several hundred kilograms of flags and banners have been saved from landfill, with a Maitland Council initiative instead turning them into fashionable carry bags.

“We found we had hundreds of kilograms of former flags and banners used by council in storage,” explained council’s marketing co-ordinator, Matt vanderWall.

“Instead of sending a couple of hundred of kilos of waste to landfill, we looked for a way we could use them again.”

The solution was simple. 

Using funds from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Less, Recycle More grants, Maitland Council had the old advertising flags and banners made into uniquely Maitland carry bags. 

Proceeds from the sales of the bags go back into the project, with the vibrant accessories to be sold at the Maitland Visitor Information Centre and at Maitland’s four libraries. 

Buyers of the bags can carry around unique pieces of Maitland’s history, with the latest batch made up of former banners advertising such events as Steamfest and Bitter and Twisted Boutique Beer Festival. 

Council events officer Kate Henry agreed the initiative was an opportunity to own a uniquely Maitland accessory, while also being a handy addition to use instead of single-use plastic bags when shopping. 

“It’s great to see us reusing our banners, in a stylish and unique way,” she said.

“They’re made in Australia and they’re a good initiative to help cut down on waste.” 

Bag prices range from $8 for the tote bags to $15 for the heavy duty shoulder bags.

The Victorian government announced on Wednesday they would ban single-use plastic bags, leaving NSW as the only Australian state or territory without a commitment to ban the bag.

Single-use plastic bags are banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, with bans in Western Australia and Queensland laws to come into effect next year, with an estimated 20,000 tonnes of plastic bags dumped in landfill each year.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths announced earlier this year that they would phase out single-use plastic bags by July next year.