Thursday, 08 February 2018 04:43

From feed bags to grocery bags Featured

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SWANVILLE - Farmers across Maine have been tossing their feed bags into the trash for years, but one Swanville woman is finding a new use for what some consider "trash."

When you live on a farm, there is a lot of waste.

"We have a lot of animals that we've raised to provide food for our family," said Jes Vaillancourt of Swanville.

But Vaillancourt has figured out how to make trash into a reusable treasure.

She is recycling used pet food and feed bags that once went into the landfill to create unique totes -- Eco Totes -- that people can use to carry everything from kids toys to groceries.

"We thought there must be something better we can do with these than to just have them be destined for a landfill," Vaillancourt said.

She gets the used bags from her farm and from others across Maine. Like most things made for the farm, they are built for strength.

"If it can be tossed around with 50-pounds of grain in it, it can hold your milk and your cereal," the entrepreneur said.

"A lot of people ask if they are real bags," she added. "They don't think that the bird seed bags or the chicken bags could actually be made into something like this."

People in Belfast and beyond are loving the bright colored recycled bags that have been saved from the garbage bin.

"This has become a way of life for people learning to recycle things they wouldn't otherwise," Vaillancourt said.

The Swanville woman has been obsessed with sewing most of her life .... And started investing in her future at a young age.

"I actually took my first paycheck from my first job and bought a sewing machine so I could make myself a purse," Vaillancourt said.

Much like her bags, her lifelong hobby has now found a new purpose.

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has previously interned with the ESPNU/SEC Network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and the WOLO sports department in Columbia, South Carolina during his time in school.

Blake also worked with the Weather Channel to help cover the historic South Carolina floods in the fall of 2015.

While most of his experience is in sports, Blake is thrilled for the opportunity to host the morning show at Fox ABC Maine and become a more well-rounded journalist and storyteller.

When he is not anchoring or reporting, Blake enjoys hiking, reading and talking anything football. He is also a fan of coffee and hip-hop music.

Feel free to reach out to him with story ideas at or follow him on Twitter at @Blake_Lipton for the latest updates on everything Maine!