Lyne Boutin and Mary Coatsworth can quite literally make something out of nothing.
That’s actually one of their roles as volunteers at la Source d’Entraide‘s sewing room in Saint-Lazare, Que., where the motto is to re-use as much as you can, wherever you can.
“We are a thrift store, so that’s the whole purpose of the donations we get here,” said Andrée-Anne Lavigne, La Source d’Entraide general director. “We really want to reduce the waste we, as an organization produce but also for everyone else. So the idea here is to give a second life to most things as we can.”
Volunteers can sew, cut and make just about anything.
One of their most recent creations is their take on a tote bag — with the help of some old car parts.
“We’re working with a junkyard that allows us to go there, grab some seatbelts, and we clean them, wash them and then we can use them to make bags,” said Lavigne.
The belts are used as a strap for the bag, which Lavigne says helps make it quite sturdy.
The bag is then sold in the store downstairs for $6.
The money from the proceeds of the bags, as well as everything else in the shop, goes back to the store, to help fund its food bank and other community services.
“We’re raising money by producing these products and selling them, and that money is useful for the food bank, etc., but also, we’re providing a service to people in the community who require these items,” said Coatsworth.
Every year, volunteers and Lavigne try to come up with new, original ideas for products — like turning fur coats into pillows or hats, or even taking some old fleece and creating a Swiffer duster refill, which the store says is one of its bestsellers.
“I’m always impressed with what we can do with recycling,” said Boutin. “The sky is the limit.”
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