Markham’s Milk Bag Program began in the summer of 2011 with a few community groups crocheting mats out of milk bags to support disaster-relief efforts in Haiti. Waterproof and durable, these mats have been sent to emergency zones world-wide as temporary sleeping and surgical mats, providing critical resources to families in need.
To support these efforts, Markham has coordinated the collection of clean milk bags at its four recycling depots, which are made available to resident groups. Since the program began, our community has collected and diverted over 400,000 milk bags from our landfills!
Did you know?
Markham won the Platinum Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario in October 2015 in the category of Special Municipal Programs!
Thank you for all of your participation in the program, from your donations to weaving and everything in between. This would not be possible without your support. This is an achievement for all!
The Story of Milk Bags
Markham’s Milk Bag Program is a story about how people came together from across the community to create something beautiful from common milk bags. It is woven from the story of plastics in our environment, with families and friends gathering behind a good cause, and dedicated people who transform Markham’s milk bags from waste to humanitarian aid.
The finished products can be used as outdoor mats, bags, or sent to disaster struck areas world-wide as temporary sleeping and surgical mats.
To support our community’s efforts, Markham is now collecting clean milk-bags at recycling depots, incorporating milk bag activities into summer camp programs, and assisting with weaving and crocheting workshops for community groups interested in getting involved.
Did you know?
- Plastic bags can last for over a 1,000 years in the environment!
- Milk bags have anti-bacterial properties
- They are unique to Eastern Canada
The Program aligns with the Greenprint Community Sustainability Plan in several ways:
Keeping milk bags out of our landfills brings us closer to Markham’s goal of zero waste.
Protecting our Environment
Re-using milk bags keeps them out of the environment where they can harm wildlife and disrupt the ecosystem.
Caring for Each Other
The finished products are often donated to help people in need. This is how we build caring and vibrant communities!
What you can do
1. Collect your milk bags and bring them to any of our recycling depots!
2. Start your own Milk Bag Mat Weaving Group! Markham's Milk Bag Weaving Guide [PDF] takes you through the steps of making your own milk bag mats.
3. Borrow a loom. You can now sign out a Loom Lending Kit at the Contact Centre.
From a local to global community
Recycling depots across Markham Mr. Dave Wood from Unionville High School and his student
collect milk bags to support the volunteers helped to make over 40 wooden looms!
"Milliken on the Move" senior group weaving mats Residents in Haiti receiving sleeping mats
In May 2014, Milk Bags Unlimited picked up 40 mats, donated by various Markham community groups. The charity will ship the mats to Haiti where they will be used as sleeping mats and temporary surgical mats.