The Story of Milk Bags
Markham’s Milk Bag Project 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!
Markham’s Milk Bag Project 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 4 recycling depots, which are made available to resident groups. Since the program began, our community has collected and diverted over 1,000,000 milk bags from our landfills!
Recognizing the community support behind this initiative and its broad public appeal, Markham’s Sustainability Office collaborated with Unionville High School to design and construct wooden looms for weaving milk bag products. With these new tools, people of all ages and abilities could weave mats, bags, and a range of other creative products to support this initiative. In the summer of 2012, milk bag activities were incorporated into many of Markham’s summer programs and camp activities to promote waste diversion and humanitarian causes.
Why it Matters
Markham’s Greenprint Community Sustainability Plan is a bold initiative to make Markham one of the most livable and sustainable places in Canada, and we can’t do it without your help! The Milk Bag Project brought people together from across the community to accomplish something meaningful and push forward our common vision of a better, more sustainable, Markham.
Here’s how the project is helping to make Markham more sustainable:
- Reducing waste: 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
- Working together to help others in need: this is how we build caring, inclusive, and vibrant communities!
What you can do
Find a local group near you weaving milk bags and get involved! Below is a list of organizations that are already engaged in the project:
- Girl Guides of Canada
- Simonston School in Thornhill
- Holy Trinity Anglican Church
- Milliken on the Move
- Coppard Glen Public School
- Kokani Association of Ontario
- St. Justin Martyr Church
- GTA YMCA
Bring your milk bags to your local recycling depot! Or better yet, start a collection system with your neighbours or local school.
Bringing the Community Together
Markham’s recycling depots are helping collect milk bags from the community. Bring your empty milk bags and support a good cause!
Mr. Dave Wood and a team of student volunteers at Unionville High School helped to make over 40 wooden looms for weaving milk bag mats.
“Milliken On the Move” seniors group learning to weave.
Markham’s community groups are getting involved!
It is a fun and simple activity for kids, family and friends!
Community champions like Jayashree Pai are holding workshops to help interested groups get involved.
Haiti residents receiving milk bag sleeping mats
Markham’s milk bag projects align 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!