What to do with my milkbags?

This question has come up a few times recently. I’m in Barrhaven, so I can only speak about our area. Milkbag supplies seem to ebb and flow … and right now, we’ve got overflow! More than enough for our groups and local schools.

However, that’s little help to people who have been collecting and don’t want milkbags to go into the landfill. So I’ve done a little searching (aka googling 🙂 ), and found the following links for the Ottawa area:

That’s right — that last entry is from the City of Ottawa itself … even though the city does not allow plastic bags in their recycling blue box. Check out the list — and you’ll see that foremost of all are Metro grocery stores.

Here in Barrhaven, our Metro at Strandherd/Woodroffe has a large blue bin in the front area where the grocery carts are. Plastic bags are not just grocery bags and milkbags; as long as it’s stretchy (but not the cling-film/saran wrap stuff), it’s a plastic bag. So — bags for breads and buns, bags for veggies and fruit, the plastic wrapper around juice box packs and other mass-quantity items, cleaned ziploc deli bags, …

Put an empty plastic bag on your kitchen counter and you’ll be amazed at what’s in it by the end of a week!

As I said at the start, the supply of milkbags (at least for us) ebbs and flows. At some point, we’ll have gone through our supplies and will once again put out a call for bags. But for now, we have more than enough here.

ON THE OTHER HAND: If you or your group need bags, why not post a comment below, with your contact info. That way, those with bags can get in touch with you. Our goal, no matter what our supply status, is to ensure that these marvellous milkbag resources don’t go into the landfill. Sharing our information is the best way to match supply and demand.

Drop-off location now available

Mr McLaren has once again invited us to use his trailer to drop off finished mats and bags. We can’t thank him enough for this continued generosity!

Location: 2459 Carlsen Ave., Ottawa (just off Heron, between Bronson and Bank).

Map: click here for a .pdf map to print.

Google map: https://www.google.ca/search?q=2459+Carlsen+Ave.&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=dA0GWbGqDaPUjwS–YywAw . Note that there are tree branches overhanging the street sign (south side of Heron) so you may want to do a `Satellite’ view of the Google map.

PLEASE REMEMBER to note your delivery details on the sheet inside the trailer door.

Here are some photos (courtesy of Jan Willis) of a 21 April delivery — adding 25 to the 78 already there (total 103). We’re off to a terrific start this spring!

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Wendy Kool (1946-2017)

Wendy Kool (1946-2017)

Hello, everyone. Some very sad news to pass along.

Wendy Kool, the woman who started me on this milkbag path — who started so many of us on our milkbag paths — has passed away. Such a wonderful mentor and teacher, with humour and patience — I’m in my 60s but I consider her a role model to aspire to.

Her obituary can be found here:

http://capitalmemorial.sharingmemories.ca/site/WendyFaithKool.html?s=40

and comments can be found here:

http://capitalmemorial.sharingmemories.ca/site/WendyFaithKool.html?s=40

Many of us found Wendy by way of a newspaper article — she became a tireless promoter of the Milkbag Project. The one I’d read was from August 2010 in the EMC Barrhaven (just found my first email to her). It’s no longer available … but here’s one from 2011, which is a pretty nice little introduction to Wendy:

https://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/news-story/3799898-students-collect-25-000-milk-bags-for-haiti/

Of those 4 schools mentioned, Mary Honeywell E.S. still provides us with bags, sorted into sets of 25 — just as Wendy had shown them. That legacy expanded, when some of those teachers went to the new Half Moon Bay school, also here in Barrhaven.

I invite you to leave your comments here as well, especially stories about how you first met Wendy. If you have links to website pages, please feel free to share them here as well. To display comments, click on `Comments’ in the titleblock area.

Wendy had so many interests, was involved with so many different groups and activities. We have been so fortunate that we could share one of them with her.

Additional links:

Eco-Fair display at St Rita’s Elementary

I just realised I haven’t posted any news items and there have been things happening!

One recent event was at St Rita’s Elementary School. I was invited to put on a display and demo of milkbag weaving, as part of their school Eco-Fair (24 March). The student displays in the gym had been made by different grades, all focusing on being a more environmentally aware person. For my part, there were posters, hand-outs, cards — and, of course, samples of bags and mats, both woven and crochet’d.

Using milkbags in this way was a totally new concept to the students, so the whole process was a mystery — and ended up being hugely fascinating to them. Like all students, they wanted to touch everything — so it made sense to get them to actually weave a few strands. I’d brought along a bag of pre-made stringers (all red) and a frame with only 3 or 4 sea-green rows done. By the end of the day (2:30), pretty much half a mat had been woven!

Here’s a brief slide-show to show how it went.

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All gone …

Well, it took more than a few weeks to finally pick up all the boxes of new milkbags from Mr McLaren’s. But it’s done. For the Ottawa area, that means we have a lot of supplies available for more than just our Barrhaven group. Lots more! Again, we thank Mr McLaren for the use of his trailer over the past half year, for his having driven 450 to 500 mats and bags down to the CFFC’s Mississauga warehouse, for bringing back 71 boxes, and for his patience while we were finding homes for those boxes. And thanks also go to the many people who drove out over the Christmas holidays, not always on the bright sunny days (!), to then store them in their basements.

Unlike our huge windfall of new bags from ProSoya last July, where each full box contained 2,400 the same bag type (colour, style), these boxes are like Christmas surprises. Not all boxes have the same type of bundles, not all bundles are full (400 bags), and they’re from a variety of manufacturers: Beatrice, Dairyland, Natrel, Neilson, Northumberland, Quebon, Sealtest … a really nice mix.

For weavers, here’s a chance to try out different colour combinations and techniques for making stripes … plaids … is it even possible to weave vertical strips?!  I’d love to post pictures of what you come up with!

For supplies, contact me directly: cthiele@ncf.ca .

A different kind of `Boxing Day’

Well, there are still quite a few boxes of new milkbags available at Mr McLaren’s. Enough for everyone!

If you would like to try using new milkbags (clean, shiny, smooth 🙂 ), then this is your chance to pick up a box or two.

If you have a weaving group who eats through bags, then pick up as many as you’d like — since there are so many left, there’s no need to restrict yourselves to just 10 boxes!

So please help clean out the trailer this week. And have a great start to the new year!

… and they’ve arrived!

The latest update on the big shipment from Ottawa …

Mr McLaren made it down to Mississauga and back without incident. He estimates there were between 450 and 500 mats in the trailer + truck that went down (see previous blog post).

And in return — his trailer now has boxes of new milkbags available for pick-up (see this map for directions):

[The trailer] is parked with the back end toward the front of my driveway.  The back door is a ramp. Open the handles on the side and pull on the door and it swings downward easily. (It’s spring loaded so it’s not at all heavy).

Please pick up your boxes (a suggested max. of 10) between Tuesday and Thursday (20-22 Dec.).

So many thank-yous for all the volunteers who’ve made this happen: the weavers and crocheters (and the bag collectors before them!), the drivers for various groups’ mats and bags, McMcLaren for taking everything to CFFC — and returning with boxes of new bags — and Angela Kesthely of Milkbags Unlimited, for so generously offering those boxes. Lots of good will and energy and plain hard work (!) have made this all come together. A pleasure to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Thank you.

And Merry Christmas to you all!

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