ReTweed helps community cut down on plastic bag usage

ReTweed founder Hazel Smith and Tim Rennie from BHA handing over Bordersbags to Noreen Thompson at Eyemouth Foodbank
ReTweed founder Hazel Smith and Tim Rennie from BHA handing over Bordersbags to Noreen Thompson at Eyemouth Foodbank

Eyemouth’s award-winning social enterprise ReTweed has donated 25 specially made fabric bags to their local foodbank, with the support of Berwickshire Housing Association and an ongoing crowdfunding appeal.

The tote bags, known as Bordersbags, are made by the members of ReTweed’s business incubator from discarded curtains.

Noreen Thompson from Eyemouth Foodbank said: “Despite sadness at the need for foodbanks in the first place, it has been heartening to see our local organisations come together to help with setting up and running the foodbank. We have been overwhelmed by the support and practical help we have been offered.

“We’ll use these bags-for-life again and again for handing out donations.”

Aiming to reduce the amount of single use plastics that get used in the community while diverting textile waste from landfill, ReTweed is crowdfunding to raise £2000 for the Bordersbags initiative.

For every bag purchased, ReTweed will donate one bag to the foodbank and other community groups.

They will also run bag-making workshops for the local community, individuals, groups and businesses.

Tim Rennie from Berwickshire Housing Association said: “Collaboration between local agencies like BHA, Retweed, the foodbank and connect is vitally important in offering frontline services that aid the wellbeing of individuals and also attempt to shape local communities.”

ReTweed provides textiles skills training, social connectedness and routes into education, employment and enterprise for women in rural Berwickshire, a community with a rich textile heritage.

The social enterprise set up the business incubator in conjunction with Scottish Borders Business Gateway to support trainees with developing their own creative enterprises.

ReTweed founder Hazel Smith said: “We are proud to be taking this small step in the global movement for a more sustainable future.

“Textiles present a particular problem in landfill – synthetics take hundreds of years to break down, wool emits methane during decomposition, the environmental cost of cotton is well-known.

“So the diversion of textiles from landfill is crucial. Our Bordersbags reinvigorate these old, once-loved curtains with new vitality and value.”

The crowdfunding appeal continues until end of September.