Natural, regional, textile-packed

Linen bags instead of plastic bags for the "energy region" Weiz.

Topic area
Basic services, Leader, municipalities
Environment, biodiversity, nature conservation

Disaggregation level
Environmental protection
Education & lifelong learning
Knowledge transfer

Project region

Local Action Group (LAG)
LAG Almenland & Energieregion Weiz - Gleisdorf

LE– Programming Period
LE 14–20

Project period

Project costs overall
rd. 56.600€

Subsidy from LE 14-20
rd. 45.280€

EN - 19.2.1. Umsetzung der lokalen Entwicklungsstrategie

Project initiator
Gemeinnützige Dienstleistungsgesellschaft der Region Weiz

Short description

The non-profit service company “Gemeinnützige Dienstleistungsgesellschaft», short DLG in the Weiz region has been well on its way to plastic-free corporate governance for quite some time.

In order to promote this approach throughout the entire region, 3,000 textile bags have been manufactured from domestic linen fabric produced in Austria.

The bags were subsequently handed over to the twelve municipalities of the Weiz-Gleisdorf "energy region". These in turn distributed the bags to the population as a plastic-free alternative to conventional plastic bags. Furthermore, the municipalities of the energy region organized workshops and lectures to promote the "plastic-free" idea throughout the entire region.

Point of departure

According to statistics, Austrian households produce about 0.9 million tonnes of plastic waste per year. 80% of this is waste generated by private or commercial end consumers. To protect the environment, human health, the economy etc., a large part of this waste should or could be prevented. This could be done, for example, by using natural alternatives to plastic.

The DLG Weiz would like to take on an exemplary function and, together with the municipalities of the region, promote the reduction of plastic.

Targets and target groups

The objective of this project was to promote the reduction of the use of plastics and thus to support the entire region in becoming plastic-free step by step. To this end, DLG Weiz took the initiative and produced plastic-free bags made from Austrian linen. In cooperation with the twelve municipalities of the "energy region" Weiz-Gleisdorf, the linen bags were distributed throughout the region and thus made available to the population. In addition, the plastic-free initiative was promoted across the region through workshops and lectures.

As a result, the following objectives and target groups were reached:

- Creation of an economic benefit through the production of sustainable textile shopping bags made from Austrian linen.

- Promotion of the interdisciplinary regional transition towards "plastic-free packaging" (live - manage - produce - consume).

- Regional networking with municipalities and their kindergartens, schools, businesses and households.

- Protection of the environment through sustainable and resource-saving economic practices

- Awareness raising throughout the region towards the prevention of single-use plastic packaging

Project implementation and measures

The project supported the "energy region" Weiz-Gleisdorf in gradually becoming plastic-free in the future - not only the municipality itself, but also nursery schools, schools, businesses and private households. DLG Weiz produced a total of 3,000 linen bags and distributed them throughout the twelve municipalities of the region.

During a first step, the linen bags were designed. In order to ensure that the ecological aspect of the project was not neglected in this stage, Austrian linen from the Carinthian company Seidra has been used. Since the bags are supposed to be used as a substitute for conventional plastic bags in the twelve communities of the "energy region", the municipalities were consulted for the design and imprint of the bags.

This allowed each community to choose from three different bag designs - shopping bag (short handles), shoulder bag (long handles) or backpack (carrying straps). The imprint on the bags was also adapted to the needs of each municipality. Depending on the municipality's preferences, f.ex. the municipality's coat of arms, the name of the municipality or a slogan could be printed on the bags.

In a second step, the 3,000 linen bags were produced by DLG Weiz's own sewing factory. It was particularly pleasing that this LEADER project was able to employ a female asylum seeker, who had previously been long-term unemployed, for a period of one year.

The municipality-specific imprints were made by a regional signmaker in Weiz.

In order to promote the project throughout the entire region and thus inform the public about the LEADER-funded project, a press conference was held on 24.06.2019 at the gallery Weberhaus Weiz, where the first bags were presented.

Afterwards, the bags were handed over to the individual municipalities in accordance with the Covid 19 protection measures.

Following the handover of the shopping bags, shoulder bags and/or backpacks, the municipalities were free to choose how to distribute the plastic-free alternative within their municipality. For example, the municipality of Weiz distributed its stock of backpacks to the first school classes of the Weizberg primary school, just at the beginning of the school year. The municipality of St. Ruprecht/Raab distributed their backpacks among two local nursery schools. The municipality of Ludersdorf-Wilfersdorf distributed its shopping bags, shoulder bags and backpacks to guests of the cultural event "Fokus Freiberg 2019" which took place in the eponymous castle.

In addition, a six-page brochure providing a comprehensive summary of useful information on the "plastic-free" initiative, was produced. The brochures were handed out to the municipalities during the first discussions concerning the bags. They were also handed out and displayed at the project events free of charge.

Other scheduled events unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the applicable Covid-19 protection measures. Other scheduled events unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the applicable Covid-19 protection measures. To compensate for the planned on-site lecture on the "plastic-free" initiative, a 22-minute video was produced. This video was not only distributed to the twelve municipalities of the "energy region" Weiz-Gleisdorf, but is can furthermore be viewed on its Youtube channel.

Results and effects

  • The project established the basis for the local production of the bags while paying attention to the use of locally sourced materials and the involvement of regional businesses.

  • The general public was informed about the project through press reports.

  • Through the project, the public has gained access to plastic-free alternatives and the "plastic-free" initiative has been further promoted throughout the region.