Posts Tagged ‘storage’

Donating milkbags

For those who want to collect and donate milkbags, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The bags will be touched and used by sorters, crocheters and weavers, and eventually slept on — do NOT `donate’ dirty, stinky bags, or bags with dried-up milk on them. Donations are NOT garbage — they are raw materials that will go through many hands before the finished mat or shoulder bag will be used by someone in need.
  • And since I’ve mentioned `stinky’ … keep in mind that plastic will absorb odours: from contact with other stinky bags as well as from airborne odours (from smoking or cooking). The storage tips below all focus on minimizing the space taken up by bags, so one offending bag can affect the entire collection — which then has to go into plastic bag recycling. Granted, that still avoids dumping plastic bags into the landfill — but what a waste of raw material, all because of one or two bags `infecting’ all the others.
  • Turn the bag inside out and hold it under the tap so the water runs all around and down the outside. Let it dry upside down until totally dry — a damp bag, folded, quickly acquires an odour.
  • Rejected bags can still be kept out of the landfill — there are grocery stores that have plastic recycling bins, especially where your municipality doesn’t include plastic bags in its recycling program.
  • Storing bags by stuffing them into a milkbag or other plastic bag is easy to do … but oh-so-wasteful in terms of storage space 🙂 Take the time to flatten the bag, fold in half, and then slide into another milkbag. You can get 30-40 milkbags into one bag — and it’s easy to stand up, like a file folder, taking up a lot less space.
  • Another storage option is put the bags, unfolded, into a box that allows you to lay them flat.
  • My favourite storage method: milkbags with folded-in-half bags (see above), stacked vertically in a photocopy paper box — the box is just the right width to keep adding bagged bags … you can get up to 800 or more, just by pushing the bags against one another, removing the air. We used to put just 24 bags into a milkbag — but many more can go in. A tip: stand the box on one of its short ends, add the filled bags, pushing down as each one’s added. Tip the box back upright.
  • One of my least favourite storage methods? Milkbags folded up into teeny-tiny triangles — not only does it take massive amounts of time to do each bag, but at our end (the sorters, crocheters, weavers) , even more gobs of time undoing every single one of them. Please don’t do this 🙂  I’ve heard the explanation that it’s to avoid having young children find the plastic bag but my response is: then keep the bags out of reach of children, just like anything else that has the potential for danger.
  • When donating your collection of bags, keep in mind that not everyone is as strong as you are! Spread the weight across a few boxes or bags, in consideration of those of us who aren’t what we used to be 🙂

Do you have storage tips to add? Send them in!

Video about the Milkbag Project

Here’s a video about the Milkbag Project in the Barrhaven area, which includes a plea for storage and transportation options, issues that have been mentioned a few times in previous posts.


  • In our area, we don’t have a long-term storage location where people can take their finished mats and bags. Right now, we’re using our basements, garages, sheds, local church basements, … What would be so much better would be a single location, opened perhaps 3-4 times a year for a Saturday morning, for us to drop our finished items off. I’m sure many of us could volunteer to staff such a facility, making sure things are stacked neatly, keeping a tally of everything, and then locking the place up till the next scheduled drop-off.  Ideally — a shipping container!


  • The aim is to get finished bags and mats down to the Mississauga warehouse run by Canadian Food for Children. The difficulty for Ottawa-based transportation is that the warehouse closes at noon — pretty hard to get there in the morning unless you leave Ottawa before dawn. But perhaps there’s a company willing to haul a shipping container down there.

Essentially, we’re looking for that critical link to connect volunteers who crochet and weave milkbags into mats and bags with a charity which brings them to people who really need them.  As with so many volunteer efforts, it’s a major missing link, mainly because there’s no money to pay for storage and transport.

But perhaps there are some extra-special volunteers out there who could help bridge the gaps and make the whole undertaking flow so much more smoothly. Here’s hoping!

Storage and transportation

Well, hello there, everyone. It’s almost a new year — 2018 — and we’re still looking for some long-term storage and transportation options for the Ottawa area.

Destination? The CFFC warehouse in Mississauga (CFFC = Canadian Food for Children). Deliveries have to be made before noon, weekdays. That’s a tough sell for anyone in Ottawa driving down — it takes at least till noon to get there! So it’s usually when someone’s visiting family and can then drive the mats/bags over to the warehouse in the morning. But a family trip usually means only 10 or 15 mats can be taken along … while we have hundreds of them, stored in our basements and spare rooms.

The dream? To have something like a transport container that’s available perhaps 4 times a year for drop-offs: we provide volunteers who’ll be in attendance for x number of hours that day, making sure mats and bags are stacked nicely.  And once it’s full, then a transport company that would be willing to take that container to Mississauga — and bring it back empty!

Yup. That’s the dream. Might not be possible for one company to do it all. But if there was one company with a container we could access, and another company that would be willing and able to haul that container to/from Mississauga …

The reality? The Milkbag Project is a grassroots endeavour — there’s no formal entity, there’s no NGO, there are no support funds from any gov’t agency. This is a total 100% volunteer activity. And all that great volunteer activity of collecting milkbags, to keep them out of the landfills,  of crocheting and weaving them into useful items that are needed so desperately in many countries — that all kinda grinds to a halt, waiting for random acts of kindness from yet more volunteers to get them from our homes into the hands of groups like CFFC, who have all the infrastructure in place to do the actual shipping.

Storage and shipping truly are the missing link in this story.

Here in Barrhaven alone, we’re adding some more schools to the weaving side of the Milkbag Project — they are so keen to start using milkbags collected by their students. If only we could find some equally keen — and benevolent — people to help with the stages that come after the weaving (and crocheting) of mats and bags … !

So I hope that perhaps this message will get passed around — by anyone who might know someone … who might know someone … 🙂

Along with good health, this is my biggest wish for the coming year.

Happy New Year, everyone!  Bonne Année à tous.

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