Category Archives: Community

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Bat Festival

Category : Community , Events , Raffle

On the 22nd of April, the Bat Festival was held at the Salt House Garden. It was an event organised by the Cairns Regional CouncilAustralasian Bat Society and CAFNEC.

Hundreds of people came along for live music, cocktails, microbat detecting, kids crafts, educational talks, flying fox flyout interpretive talks, a great raffle, BBQ, Zoo To You and more!



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Boomerang Bags Gallery

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Cairns ECOfiesta 2017

CAFNEC at EcoFiesta 2017

Check out our Cairns and Far North Environment Centre video from Cairns ECOfiesta 2017. We talked about Plastic Free July FNQ 2017, Boomerang Bags, the Wet Tropics Plan Review and out latest Ecotone amongst other things AND held workshops to make your own beeswax wraps, and screen printing to give recycled t-shirt a new life. Beeswax wraps are easy to make and a great alternative to plastic wrap! Why not switch to beeswax wraps as part of your Plastic Free July? Sign up here:

It was a fabulous sunny day of art, music, food and fashion at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal. A day of eco-activities, workshops, hands-on learning, expo of green-tech and sharing about sustainable living solutions. What a fantastic day to see all these people there to take care of our environment and our planet!

CAFNEC organized three workshops : the t-shirt printing, beeswax wrap making and Boomerang Bag sewing!

Now, check out these fabulous photos!

T-shirt printing with Charlie





Our two interns won some prizes in the contest!

Beeswax Wrap: Grating

Beeswax Wrap: Cutting and Melting

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Blog: Boomerang Bags February Update

Hi Boomerang Bag crew,

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to our first sewing bee. For those who weren’t able to make it we look forward to meeting you soon!

The numbers are in for the first sewing bee:

Item Tally
Complete bags 8
‘Very, nearly, almost’ complete bags 14
Bag pieces with pockets pre-attached 10
Cut bag pieces 65
Printed pockets 86
Sewn or ironed handles 20 sets
Cut handles 60 sets
Cut tags Lots and lots and lots

Boomerang Bags national recommend that each community should reach a ‘critical mass’ of 1000 bags before launching them into the community. So we have a few to go if we aim for this target but I’m sure each sewing bee we will get more and more efficient!

Drawing on the learning of the first meet up we’ve had a few ideas to streamline the process that we’ll implement at the next sewing bee:

  • Have a designated cup of tea/chat break half way through: we aren’t machines after all 😛
  • More of a production line with sewing machines/overlockers: piles with different stages of bag and assigning each machine a role
  • More irons and ironing boards for pockets and handles
  • Make up bag kits for people who can’t attend meetings to take home and sew
  • Make the sewing station larger (and use limited space better)
  • Making the instruction sheets for each station even bigger and clearer and assigning a volunteer to keep an eye over each station and how it’s going
  • Getting non-sewers who would like skills to sit with sewers and learn
  • Better rotation for those who want to try out different things.
  • Start at 4.30 instead of 4.00
  • Make sure the aircon isn’t temperamental again
  • Better explanation and clearer signs of where materials are: thread, scissors, extension chords etc.

We want your feedback: what creative ideas do you have to build Boomerang Bags Cairns? What ideas do you have from the first meeting? Let us know in this survey: (It’s anonymous!)

Thursday 2nd March 4.30pm – 7.30 pm (that’s next week!)
Where: Downstairs of Cominos House 27-29 Greenslopes St, Cairns North
Facebook Event:
What to bring: sewing machine or overlocker (if you have one), recycled fabric, snacks to share, or just yourself 🙂

A lot of people asked if they should bring their machine (or overlocker) along: yes, if you do have one then bring it along as it seems the back log in our production line so far has been the sewing stage. In saying this if you don’t have a machine don’t let that stop you from coming at all: there are so many other tasks that need to be done Eg cutting, printing, ironing, sorting, organising chatting 😛 You can also sit in with a sewer and learn.

Can’t come along but still want to help?

Do you have any fabric at home that may never be used? Donate it and we will turn it into Boomerang Bags. Anything will do so long as it isn’t overly thick or stretchy, even old sheets can be chopped up to be given a second life. We will also be gladly accepting donations of thread and any sewing accessories. Please bring in to the CAFNEC office (we will also have a donation box on the veranda for when office is closed).

One more thing:

In case you missed it: the Queensland Government has committed to banning single-use plastic bags in 2018 – hoorah! A discussion paper has been released and public input is being sought  via an online survey into what a ban may look like in practice. To help you out the Cafnec Marine Response Team have put together some points which may help you guide your response. The survey closes on Monday 27th March so have your say now!


  1. Join ‘Boomerang Bags Cairns’ Facebook group:
    (Don’t worry if you don’t have Facebook – I will continue to communicate via emails also)
  2. Feedback on first sewing bee:
  3. ‘Like’ our Cairns and Far North Environment Centre page (
  4. ‘Like’ our CAFNEC Marine Response Team page (
  5. Have your say on the Qld Governments plastic bag ban survey: closes Monday 27th March
  6. Have a friend who is interested? Get them to sign up for the email list here:

Further reading: check out the national website or join the national Boomerang Bags Facebook group as a great place to get ideas on how others are running Boomerang Bags (

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Bess, Community Engagement Coordinator at CAFNEC on 4032 1746 or

Flyer 1pg any date

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Adopt a Drain: Great new initiative in Cairns!

Everyone needs to check out this AMAZING stop motion video put together by Riley Luckett, a Cairns primary school student who has been a part of the Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre‘s enrichment program this year. Riley is asking the residents of Cairns to ‘Adopt a Drain in their street to reduce the urban waste entering our oceans via the storm water network. Go Riley!! How do you adopt a drain? Simply go outside and pick one, then it’s your responsibility to make sure the drain remains clean – pick up the rubbish in your street and make sure the drains aren’t clogged with palm fronds and other garden debris, you’ll be thanking Riley when the wet season comes!

Check out Riley’s website here

If you’re interested in reducing rubbish entering our stormwater network and oceans why not come and do some drain stencilling with the Cafnec Marine Team? To find out more and register click here

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The Plastic Puzzle: Great blog by primary student!

Check out this great blog, ‘The Plastic Puzzle’ by primary school student, Oliver. Oliver has participated in the Holloway’s Beach Environmental Education Centre’s enrichment program this year and has put together a fantastic blog on single use plastic and its prevalence in our society. We have a lot to learn from the next generation, well done Oliver!


Read Oliver’s blog now

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Colouring in: Plastic Free July

Plastic free coluring in to download

Click here to download and print this fabulous plastic-free colouring in sheet created by Cosima Stockeld of Owlet Nightjar Prints based in Kuranda.

Cosi_Colouring In Pic

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Plastic Free July: ‘Bag it’ Screening wrap up


Thanks to everyone who came out for our ‘Bag it: Is your life too plastic?’ film screening and how to fundraise night on Thursday 30th of June.

We had a full house – apologies to those who missed out!

Check out the pictures from the night and in case you missed it, check out the trailer for ‘Bag it’ here

If you still need to make a GoFundraise page for Plastic Free July click here!









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Plastic Free July: Family Fun Beach Day pictures

We had a great day at Yorkeys Knob on Saturday 25th of June launching Plastic Free July FNQ with our Family Fun Beach Day!

Sandcastles, BBQ, drain stencilling, bag painting, colouring in, singing, plastic free living demos and giveaways!

Check out some of the pictures and a special video made by PhlipVids above, and coverage in the Cairns Post below.


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Bags hand screen printed with our ‘Plastic: It All Adds Up’ logo for the event


Some of the great prizes for sand castle building!


Paint your own bag


Drain stencil project


Colouring in (want to print and colour your own? Download it here)


No Waste No Worries plastic free living display


Purging Plastics display


Tangaroa Blue


Ditch plastic straws!


Plastic bag and coffee cup waste display


Lovely tunes


Sand castle comp in action


Sand castle comp in action


Drain stencil project


Nemo facepaint


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Plastic Free July: Best Blogs & Websites


Check out our favourite plastic-free living blogs!

This July, we’re accepting the challenge to refuse single-use plastic. It might be tough to change your consumption behavior, but there are heaps of useful websites and awesome people out there who have been living plastic free in Australia and all over the world!
Find interesting tips and get inspired by their stories here:

Cairns, Queensland

No Waste No Worries shares many useful tips as they document their family’s journey towards waste-free and sustainable living here in Cairns.

Follow Mathilde and her friends’ journey to a waste-free lifestyle on Purging Plastic.


The Rogue Ginger, Erin has been living plastic free for three years!

Tammy Logan and her family did the plastic free July challenge last year on Gippsland Unwrapped.

Regan Jade is also encouraging people to accept the plastic free July challenge.

Waste Free Me documented their household’s journey from wasteful to waste free over one year.

New South Wales

Check out Clean Coast Collective’s tips on hosting a plastic-free party

       Follow NSW sustainability champion Tim Silverwood and his environmental movement Take 3 For the Sea

Western Australia

Lindsay Miles gives good tips on zero waste and plastic-free living, simple living and minimalism, real food and recipes on treading my own path.

Check out other blogs and useful website from all over the world here:

Other blogs: