The Markham milk bags project

rsz_dsc01914Markham’s Milk Bag Program 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 four recycling depots, which are made available to resident groups. Since the program began, our community has collected and diverted over 3,000,000 milk bags from our landfills!

The Story of Milk Bags

Markham’s Milk Bag Program 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

The Program aligns with the Greenprint Community Sustainability Plan in several ways:


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.

Caring for Each Other

The finished products are often donated to help people in need. This is how we build caring and vibrant communities!

What you can do

1. Collect your milk bags and bring them to any of our recycling depots!

2. Start your own Milk Bag Mat Weaving Group! Markham’s Milk Bag Weaving Guide takes you through the steps of making your own milk bag mats.

3. Borrow a loom. You can now sign out a Loom Lending Kit at the Contact Centre.