Live Green: Double Green Tote

Clients at Oak Leyden Developmental Services are turning discarded jeans into reusable shopping bags. For James Elliot it's a labor of love. The young developmentally disabled man says he's doing something he enjoys.

"I'm learning how to sew," said Elliot.

Elliot is learning a skill and helping to save the environment. The program is the brainchild of director Greda Evans, who wanted to do something for the planet.

"Because when these [jeans] are nasty and tossed away, they will rot nicely in the landfill and not stay there millions of years the way plastic will," said Evans.

Evans was looking for a way to use her daughter's old worn-out jeans when she came up with the idea. She says she fiddled with various concepts and taught herself to sew before coming up with the Double Green Totes. The designs are unique and practical.

"If you have two shoulder bags, you can have a lot of groceries in one and in the other. Your hands are free. You can use the railing, get the door," said Evans.

Most of the materials- including the sewing machines- are donated. Proceeds go toward clients at Oak Leyden Developmental Services. The program teaches them responsibility and independence in an earth-friendly way.

"I was trying to think of a product that we could have. That's what it's all about. They'd like to earn money, and they like doing different things. It's always fun to do something different for them," said Evans.

"I think they are beautiful," said TaRonda Sales.

For more information on Oak/Leyden, visit

Where to Find Double Green Tote Customers

  • Afri-Ware, 266 W. Lake St., Oak Park, 60302, (708) 524-8308
  • Mary Memories Antique, 6834 W. Windsor Ave, Berwyn, 60402, (708) 305-3007
  • Oak Park Area Convention and Visitor Bureau, 158 Forest Ave., Oak Park, 60301, (708) 771-5590
  • Team Blonde, 7442 W. Madison, Forest Park, 60130, (708) 771-5590
  • Green Home Experts, 832 South Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, 60304, (708) 937-5403
  • Elegant Fashion, 6638 Roosevelt Rd., Oak Park, 606304, (708) 524-1877
  • Oak Park Art League, 720 Chicago Ave., Oak Park, 708 386-9853.
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