"Vert Partout", the greenest store in Sutton
By Nancy Helmuth
Re'jeanne Labrecque started "Vert Partout" in 2009 on Sutton's main street. The store is dedicated to "green" products and initially, everyone was wondering about the feasibility of such an enterprise. They were proved wrong. The store is doing well and, as a frequent visitor, I can attest to the fact that it is still evolving with new products being added and the lovely interior seems to be updated all the time. Mme Lebrecque demonstrated a new set of items today, pepper mills made from logs which are incredibly cool to look at, to touch and to use.
My favorite items in the store however are bags made from used bicycle tubes, one of them even showing an old tire patch while others can still be read as being "700x25C", a tube preferred by road racing enthusiasts. These are made in Sherbrooke by a company called "Ressac".
Metal sculptures by local Abercorn artist Maurice Ferland mingle with locally produced jewelry and sit next to bags for firewood or shopping bags and floor mats made from recycled tires. A large display holds wallets made from recycled paper and they are aptly called "mighty wallets". I tried to tear one up and could not, that is how tough they are.
But the best part is the handbags and reuseable snack packs that state: "I used to be a plastic bottle". They are durable, colorful, affordable, and one again, recyclable.
The next rack holds blankets that are spun from recycled wool, wonderfully soft and cuddly creations in a myriad of colors. And did you ever think about wearing a bathrobe made from Bamboo? It can be had right here, a sensuous garmet spun from bamboo fibers to go with the bamboo blankets, sheets and bath towels. The density of the fibers is actually found to be better than natural wool or even the best spun cotton and recent tests in laboratories in Europe state that the washability and longevity of this recently developed textile material far surpasses that of wool. Add to this that the material has a far lesser shrink rate than wool, this will possibly be a great addition to materials used in the garment industry in the future, if we can just get the Panda bears out there from eating it all up first.
Where does all the stuff come from? "About half the items in the store are produced in Quebec or Ontario, the rest comes from the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos and other Asian countries which are really getting into the recycling industry" explained Diane Lebrecque, the owner's sister in law and the English speaking member of the crew, who courteously afforded me her time in traslating my questions.
So, if you grumble about putting out your recycle box every other week, think about the fact that our grandchildren may have raincoats or hats and lunchboxes made from that old soda can. And you shall be able to find it in downtown Sutton!