P.E.I. woman turns pull-tabs into accessories

Maureen Coulter comment@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 18, 2014

Marion Quinn crochets a purse using recycled beverage pull tabs.

©Guardian photo by Maureen Coulter

Marion Quinn of Charlottetown goes above and beyond what most do when it comes to recycling.

Quinn has been recycling her whole life but took things to a new level two years ago when she started to make accessories out of pull-tabs from beverage cans and pull-tabs from cat food containers.

The idea to make a wide range of accessories out of pull-tabs came to her after someone she knew brought her back a purse from Mexico made from recycled pull-tabs. However she noticed they were all loose and wanted to craft a better design herself.

“I’m very fortunate that I can figure things out.”

So the journey began.

In Quinn’s cozy apartment with years of history and love around her, she picks away at different projects while listening to old music like Smoke Gets in Your Eyes or watching TV shows that make her laugh.

“I love to watch Archie Bunker, I have seen him hundreds of times but I still can get a good laugh out of it.”

Many of Quinn’s friends and family help her by collecting pull-tabs of all colours so she can continue to make her beautiful assortment of accessories including purses, animal collars, bracelets, belts and earrings.

Her next project is to make a lampshade with invisible thread and recycled pull-tabs, she said.

“The more I did, the better I got at it.”

And it’s not just pull-tabs she repurposes. She also reuses yarns, threads, string and horse buckles off reins that her son collects for her.

“I reuse everything.”

She said she is a firm believer of recycling and dislikes littering and the throwing away of food, especially from the big grocery stores.

“I do feel that people should (recycle) because my goodness what is going to happen to the environment if they don’t?”

“I think there is an awful lot of waste. It’s terrible.”

Quinn said she feels people should start getting innovative with recycled products and that is why she does not mind showing people how make accessories out of recycled products.

“I figure they should know as well as anybody else.”

People often approach Quinn when she is out and about giving her praise on her recycled pull-tab purses.

“They come to me. They really do. I have had more compliments, so I feel good.”

Quinn is not interested in starting a business but is not opposed to selling her creations if someone approaches her and asks to buy one.

“I will if somebody really wants it.”

It’s a labour of love, she said.