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Montreal woman reduces waste by giving old T-shirts a second life

Click to play video: 'Montreal woman reduces waste by giving old T-shirts a second life' Montreal woman reduces waste by giving old T-shirts a second life
WATCH: One Montreal-West woman is trying to get people to think twice before throwing out old t-shirts by turning them into useful household objects. Global's Dan Spector reports – Jan 6, 2022

Everyone has a favourite T-shirt, but what do you do with it when it’s worn out or stained beyond repair? In all likelihood, you throw it in the trash.

But one Montreal-West woman is trying to get people to think twice before doing that by turning old shirts into useful household objects.

Marianne Lynch is an English teacher at Vanier College. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and she had to teach online, she started getting sick of looking at screens.

“I really needed something that got me out of that computer space,” she explained to Global News.

Read more: ‘We would slash the fabric’: Fashion’s harmful habit of destroying unsold clothes

She turned to a new art that begins by cutting old T-shirts into strips and turning them into yarn. With a few strategic cuts and some stretching, a T-shirt becomes a ball of yarn in a matter of minutes. From all the old shirts donated to her, Lynch has all the colours of the rainbow.

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“I’ve actually posted on a couple of Facebook pages for people to donate, and it went a little bit mad,” she said.

Out of old T-shirts, she makes baskets, mats, bags and more. Over the past year, she’s turned hundreds of garments that probably would have ended up in a landfill
into hundreds of objects.

“I’m probably getting close to 500,” she estimates.

Lynch says the seed of the idea was planted when her mother passed away a few years ago. She was disturbed by the amount of stuff she had to just throw away.

Read more: Younger generations driving resurgence in vintage clothing industry

“More specifically, I think I became interested in what happens to clothing and fabrics,” Lynch said.

The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. According to Waste Reduction Week in Canada, North Americans send more than 10 million tons of clothing to landfills each year, 95 per cent of which could be reused or recycled.

Lynch decided to do her small part.

“Mostly I’ve used them, I’ve given them as gifts, or if people ask me for a bag, a basket, a mat, I’ll make it for them,” she explained.

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Her CEGEP student daughter gave her the idea of making tote bags.

“It did prove to be popular to make these little tote bags,” she said.

Lynch even set up a booth at the Vanier College craft fair recently, calling her creations Tee-Incarnations.

“I probably sold about 25 items at the craft fair,” she said.

She has no interest in turning it into big business, but is hoping to rope new people into the craft by giving demonstrations at Vanier or other schools.

“Once you kind of get the hang of how to do it, it’s not a complicated craft,” she said.

Lynch hopes to continue reducing waste and screen exposure one old T-shirt at a time.

Click to play video: 'Montreal makes move to ban single use plastic by 2023' Montreal makes move to ban single use plastic by 2023
Montreal makes move to ban single use plastic by 2023 – Aug 18, 2021

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