Purses are valuable everyday items that can also be used to make a fashion statement. An eco-friendly purse is made from materials that can be reused or recycled. Using the eco-friendly purse to live more sustainably is a great idea.
Sustainable purses are a great way to show your support for companies that care about the environment.
The most eco-friendly choice is to use the purse you already have, but if you’re looking for a new purse, this guide has some great ideas. Let’s dive in!
Things To Look Out For When Buying Eco-friendly Purse
It’s clear that buying eco-friendly products is good for the environment and helps the people who make them. How do you know an eco-friendly purse?
When looking for a new purse, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for.
Vegan Leather: If you want a vegan leather purse, try to find one made of plant-based leather like apple or cork. Stay away from synthetic vegan leathers that might contain plastic.
Leather is known for being strong, but there are better environmental materials. So, if you want to use leather, choose an option that is better for the environment, like upcycled leather or leather scraps.
Check out Peta’s guide to vegan leather to find out more about cork, pineapple, and other types of leather.
Natural fibers: cotton is a good choice. Even better are natural organic fibers, which are better for the environment.
Recycled Materials: When shopping for an eco-friendly purse, it’s a good idea to look for materials that have been used before. This keeps things from ending up in a landfill and gives them a second chance at life. There are a lot of purses that are made from plastic bottles and tend to last a long time.
These eco-friendly brands have many great options for purses that are made using fair trade methods and materials that will last.
If you want a purse that will last and you want it to be made of real leather, Nisolo has a better option. Nisolo is a certified B Corporation that uses socially responsible business practices to make high-quality leather goods ethically.
Nisolo also gives shoemakers in Peru and Mexico steady work making shoes out of sustainable leather. This helps the shoemakers support themselves and their families.
Nisolo makes leather goods meant to last a lifetime by using eco-friendly ways to eliminate waste, leather scraps from the meat industry, and carbon offsetting.
Nisolo is the top-rated brand on Remake’s Accountability Report and is certified as good for the environment.
They measure, cut, and offset all of their carbon emissions with Ecosphere+, protecting trees in the Peruvian Amazon’s Cordillera Azul and Ucayali regions from being cut down.
With their Ethical Marketplace, Nisolo is building a community of sustainable brands. They also sell products from other sustainable brands to encourage sustainable living outside of the closet.
They also started a Shoe Reclamation Program and have collected and given Soles4Souls more than 7,000 pairs of shoes.
2. Malia Design
This fair trade brand makes affordable purses from environmentally good materials, such as up-cycled cotton and cement bags.
Still, they don’t stop there.
When you buy a bag from Malia Designs, you support fair-trade working conditions and help to stop people from being trafficked.
Through their work and sales, Malia Designs has given more than $160,000 to charities in the US and Cambodia fighting human trafficking.
Malia designs come in many popular styles, like crossbody purses and messenger bags.
3. Carry Courage
Marisa, the founder of Carry Courage, has made a company that values and looks for materials that are good for the environment when making their products.
Cork fabric and linen are two main things they use, making them PETA-approved vegan. Their bags are handmade in Oregon, so you know you’re getting a good one made with ethics in mind.
Cork fabric is made from the bark of a tree that grows quickly and soaks up five times as much carbon dioxide as other trees. It also makes bags that are good for the environment and can be cleaned with mild dish soap.
Each of Carry Courage’s eco-friendly bags is hand-sewn in small batches, mostly made to order. This means that machines aren’t making a lot of wasteful emissions, and there isn’t a lot of extra stock that goes to waste.
It also promises that customers will get “heirloom quality” pieces that will last for many years.
4. Parker Clay
Parker Clay wants to make a “Better Bag for a Better World.”
Their eco-friendly purse and classic line of handbags made of sustainable leather show that leather can be better.
There are crossbody bags, totes, bucket bags, and backpacks for women. Briefcases, messenger bags, and backpacks are among the sustainable bags they sell for men.
Many of their bags work with tech and laptops, and some can be personalized. All of their ethical handbags are made of high-quality full-grain leather from Ethiopia. This leather comes from the meat industry in Ethiopia.
The hardware is made of natural brass that is of high quality. “Fashion shouldn’t be thrown away; it should be treasured,” so Parker’s bags are highly durable.
Being a member of the Green Tannin Initiative, their leather is dyed with natural dyes from plants instead of chrome and sulfides. All of the water used in their Ethiopian leather shops is also recycled.
After adopting a daughter from Ethiopia and living there for a few years, the founders of Parker Clay are very passionate about giving back to the country. They plant a tree for every bag bought through the Green Legacy Challenge.
5. Fossil’s Cactus Leather Purses and Tote Bags
Fossil’s line of purses and bags made of cactus leather are high quality, durable, and one-of-a-kind. The outside is made of gorgeous cactus leather.
The cactus leaves are dried in the sun for three to six days, an energy-efficient way to make cactus leather. Then, the trunk of each cactus is left whole, so it can be harvested again. Every 6 to 8 months, its leaves grow back.
Herbicides and pesticides are not used in this process, and the tanning is done naturally.
Inside these bags is a high-quality lining made from 100% recycled materials called REPREVE®. This fabric is made from water bottles that have already been used. The bottles were turned into resin, which was then spun into yarn.
When REPREVE® recycled polyester is used instead of virgin natural polyester, energy use is cut by 45%, water use is cut by 20%, and greenhouse gas emissions are cut by 30%.
The leather bags that Klès makes by hand are as eco-friendly as leather bags can be. They only use full-grain aniline leather from Italy and Belgium that has been vegetable-tanned and comes from the meat and dairy industries.
Vegetable-tanned leather is a great example of what Klès stands for in a slow fashion. Vegetable-tanned leather takes about six weeks to make, while chrome-tanned leather can be made in just one day.
They also start with only the best skins so that the leather can be left natural or colored with an aniline dye that lets the beauty of the natural grain show through.
All of Klès’ eco-friendly purses are made by the designer and owner, Jessica Gomez, who cuts, sews, or rivets by hand and finishes the edges by hand.
“Klès products are 100% slow fashion,” which means that they are all hand-stitched, which makes them easier to fix and last longer.
Having gone through a few brands that produce eco-friendly purses, let’s see why it is important that you use an eco-friendly purse.
HOW TO PICK OUT AN ECO-FRIENDLY PURSE
When shopping for a new purse, there are a few other things to consider besides the material.
Why: The fashion industry has made bags for almost every situation. From a backpack that can be turned into a crossbody bag to everything else. Try to find a purse you can use for more than one thing.
Ethics and the environment: Now it’s time to pay attention to the business. It would be best to look into the brand’s social responsibility and how they treat the environment. Does the company pay its workers a fair wage all along the supply chain? What are they doing to cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions?
The best eco-friendly purses and handbags have strict codes of conduct or are certified to show that they live up to their claims. Examples of these certifications are
Certified B Corp, BSCI, SA800, Fair Trade, Fair Wear Foundation, International Labor Organization, and WRAP.
Durability: Think about how long the bag will last. When buying a new purse, it’s important to get one that will last for years. If you have to buy a new cheap purse every few months, that’s not very green.
Having known what to look for in an eco-friendly purse, let’s see some creative companies that are doing it right.
Also, Read: Best 10 Eco-friendly Trash Bags
WHY BUY ECO-FRIENDLY PURSES?
Finding an eco-friendly purse is like finding that ONE thing in your purse, but you must take out everything else first.
The Problem With Classic Leather
Leather is the traditional material for purses and handbags because it looks good and lasts a long time, but (surprise!) it is made from animal skin.
Leather is sometimes made from scraps left over from the meat industry. Most of the time, leather is the only reason 1 billion animals are raised and killed yearly.
Even though leather is made from animals, it doesn’t break down like other fabrics (ethical wool, cashmere, peace silk, etc.).
When treated with chemicals, it can take more than 100 years to release dangerous chemicals.
The process uses more than 250 chemicals, such as arsenic, chromium, cyanide, and others, which also cause leaching at this stage. Not to mention the damage it does to workers who have to deal with toxins daily.
To sum up, traditional leather isn’t very good for animals, people, or the environment.
Overconsumption, Labour Inequalities, and Environmental Damage
Handbags, purses, and other fashion accessories are not exempt from the problems the fashion industry has caused.
It’s hard to know the full effects, but it seems like overconsumption from fast fashion (how many bags do we each need? ), abuse of workers, and damage to the environment are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you need a new purse or handbag, you should always start with a used one. It would be best if you looked into the best sustainable purses and handbags to find one that meets all your needs.
So, there you have it: a whole bag full of eco-friendly purses from brands that give you a way to live more sustainably.
Remember that the best purses to use are the ones you already have. If you need to get new ones, make sure to recycle them the right way.
This guide should have given you some ideas for eco-friendly brands and bags if you decide to buy something new. Another great thing to buy used is a purse.
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