Green bags are fabric flower pots and because the fabric is breathable, UV protected, and drains properly, it provides the ideal growing conditions (Submitted)

Revelstoke company turns waste into flowerpots

Shade Sails Canada says it’s trying to reduce its environmental impact

A local business is trying to become waste free and more profitable at the same time.

Shade Sails Canada is one of the only companies in Canada that make shade sails. A shade sail is a device that creates outdoor shade based on the design of a ship’s sail. A plastic woven fabric is tensioned between several anchor points and the structure can be installed permanently in public places such as parks and playgrounds or even in someone’s backyard. Shade sails are particularly popular in sunny countries, such as Australia.

Shade Sails Canada is one of the only companies in Canada that make shade sails. A shade sail is a device that creates outdoor shade based on the design of a ship’s sail (Submitted)

“It’s an alternative to an umbrella. You can leave it up in the wind and rain. It won’t go anywhere,” says Paul Wilanowski, design and customer support from Shade Sails Canada. The company has made shade sails for the City of Toronto, Vancouver, and they just finished a project for the Victoria Airport.

However, making shade sails also produces a lot of waste as the sail is cut from one continual fabric roll and discarded patches cannot be resewn together.

“I’ve been working hard on how to recycle this material instead of sending it to the landfill,” says Anne Murphy, one of the owners of Shade Sails Canada. Murphy is a sewer by trade and it was sewing that put her through university.

Murphy says the company would send at least ten large commercial bins to the landfill every year.

“To bring to the landfill, it’s a lot of fabric. And it’s beautiful fabric, so it’s a real shame. It’s also expensive.”

The fabric costs roughly $5 per square foot.

So the company began to brainstorm ways to best use the leftovers. The result are grow bags.

Sewing the left over fabric into a bag (Submitted)

“What I discovered and it was a complete fluke. I had a bunch of girls over for wine and someone brought me a plant. I’m not a gardener. Not at all. But I didn’t like the pot that it came in. So the next day at work I made a cute little pot from our waste. And the plant grew like crazy,” says Murphy.

Murphy realised grow bags could be an effective way to get rid of the extra fabric and make a profit.

Grow bags are fabric flower pots and because the fabric is breathable, UV protected, and drains properly, it provides the ideal growing conditions says Murphy. They are well suited for tomatoes, flowers and even cannabis. The pots are made to last 25 years and some models have Velcro straps that make transplanting easy and will not damage the plant’s root.

The bags are for sale on the company’s new website:

Shade Sails Canada says this product is the first of its kind.

“We go to conventions and no-one knows what to do with the left over fabric,” says Murphy.

The company says it’s important to lower one’s ecological footprint.

“I think for everyone here and for most people in Revelstoke, finding a way to be responsible and not produce waste and care for the environment is really important and high up on everyone’s list,” says Wilanowski.

READ MORE: BC resident calls for national plan to tackle plastic



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