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Hundreds of milk bags recycled for P.E.I. charity, with possibility for other single-use plastics

Anna Farquhar showcases a standard milk bag, left, and one of the tote bags she turns them into and sells for charity. Each tote bag takes about 60 milk bags, but Farquhara is struggling to find the raw materials since moving to P.E.I., she said. Daniel Brown/The Guardian.
Anna Farquhar showcases a standard milk bag and one of the tote bags that she recycles and sells for charity. Since being featured in a December 2019 edition of The Guardian, she has received over 300 milk bag donations from Islanders. - Daniel Brown

It didn't take long for Anna Farquhar to start hearing back from the Island’s bagged milk drinkers. 

“I got emails from people almost right away,” she said. “I got a lot of support online.” 

Farquhar was featured in a recent edition of The Guardian for her charity work. Her mission – to recycle used milk bags into colourful tote bags via her crocheting skills. 

It only takes about 60 milk bags to make one tote bag, which she would then sell and donate the proceeds to a local charity. However, milk bags are less commonly used on P.E.I. than in her home province of Ontario where she's been doing this for years, she said. 

That changed following the Dec. 26, 2019, news story. Islanders who do guzzle their milk out of bags started reaching out to Farquhar. 

She has since received about 360 milk bags, allowing her to crochet six totes. 

“So, that’s pretty cool,” Farquhar said. “It’s been very rewarding in many ways.” 

For her, it has also been a great chance to make connections with new people since retiring to Stratford, P.E.I., last year. However, environmental sustainability has always been a passion of hers as well. 

“It makes me feel good because I know this stuff isn’t going in the trash, which, to me, that’s bigger than anything else.” 

Farquhar even had people from Nova Scotia reaching out. Some have been asking her how they could recycle the bags themselves, which she’s more than happy to teach and would consider holding a crocheting workshop for if there’s enough interest. 

“I have no issue showing other people what I’m doing.” 

She also realized her initiative may not be limited to just milk bags. 

“My heart is in the place of not putting things in the trash if we can help it."

One connection Farquhar made was with a farmer in Morell who asked her about the plastic twine that many Island farmers use for hay bales. 

“She was wondering if that was something that could be used as well, because right now it all gets thrown out.” 

The two met so that Farquhar could try to crochet it. In the end, the twine was too stiff to be crocheted, but she was able to use horse feed bags instead. 

“I had to knit it as it was hard on the hands,” she wrote in an email response. 

It only takes four feed bags to make one tote bag. While the farmer doesn’t use feed bags as much, they’ll continue to supply Farquhar with them, and it’s opened possibilities for her to recycle other single-use plastics that Islanders may have. 

“My heart is in the place of not putting things in the trash if we can help it." 

She's very grateful toward everyone who has reached out to support her cause, she said. 

“You’re helping just by doing what you do every day. You drink milk.” 

If there are any bagged milk drinkers who want to donate their bags to Farquhar’s cause, reach out to her at: farquhara@hotmail.com

As well, bags can be dropped off in a specified bin at the Stratford Public Library. 


Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 

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