How about recycled handbags?
It is amazing how many different materials are being recycled and made into handbags. Leftover and discarded materials are everywhere. All it takes is for someone to wonder:
"What happens to all that ....?"
And then does something about it.
Honestly though who would think pop tops from aluminum cans, old record albums or rubber tires could be made into some very unique and creative handbags but that's only the tip of the iceberg. Recycled purses or handbags have been designed from remnants of fabric off manufacturers floors, discarded sails from ships, grain sacks, candy wrappers, skateboards or no longer needed vinyl billboards and banners. So many things are discarded creating a never ending supply of potential materials.
This is creativity and being green at it's most fun. What better way to have a little fun and help recycling efforts too. An added benefit is that many of these companies are as interested in finding a use for discarded materials as they are in making sure the handbags they create are made by employees being treated fairly.
Here are just a few examples of different materials being used to create recycled purses or handbags and see below for some shopping suggestions.
Handbags From Candy Wrappers?
Ecoist is a good example. They create recycled handbags using discarded candy wrappers from manufacturers that were from miss-prints or from discontinued candies, saving these materials from the trash. You've probably seen these bags. They have been featured in many popular magazines and have been seen on the arms of Hollywood celebrities.This company actively searches for and works with manufacturers who use fair trade and environmentally friendly practices providing much needed work for women in underprivileged areas.
Ecoist also belongs to Trees for the Future and plants a tree in various parts of the world for every recycled bag sold, further showing their commitment to the environment.
Vy & ElleCan you guess from the name what recycled item they work with? You know all those vinyl billboards and banners we see advertising this and that, most of them have a very short life span before heading to the dump.
Vy & Elle picks these up from companies all over the US where they are prepared in California and sent to China to be made in to handbags by companies following strict guidelines for fair trade practices. They say their prep work on the vinyl involves them in community outreach programs in California. So far they have recycled forty tons of billboard vinyl.
Vintage Leather BagsOld leather jackets, clothing and scrap materials are salvaged and upcycled as beautiful handbags. Unique recycled handbags that are designed in a way that takes advantage of the styling and richness of old leather jackets, pants or other leather. This is a wonderful use for a material that is not biodegradeable.
Where To Shop
Who would have thought that weaving together paper wrappers could make such fun and unique handbags? Here you will find recycled handbags, totes and wristlets made from all different kinds of packaging from candy wrappers to chip bags.
Durable vintage rubber is crafted into stylish handbags that suit every need from functional to elegant.
No longer used seatbelts are a sleek looking material that when woven together creates some very cool looking recycled handbags. What a great use for something that is often discarded.
A Canadian website, that offers a great selection of many different kinds of bags in all price ranges. Both Ecoist and Vy & Elle, along with others can be found here. They provide great descriptions of the materials used and the companies that design the handbags.
Handbag designer Shannon South decides to take a more sustainable approach and creates handbags from used leather clothing and scrap materials. The handbags are handmade here in the US. They can be purchased as ready made handbags or you can have one custom made for you. Handbags are lined with vintage scarves.
Beautiful handbags from salvaged, vintage and recycled fabrics. The handbag on the left is just one great example of what can be done with recycled materials.
Feeling Crafty?Why not make your own handbag. Amazon has several books like the one on the right about creating Recycled Handbags with plenty of ideas to get you started.
Whether a designer is committed to recycling and the environment or just looks at objects being trashed and their creativity takes over and what do you know... A new handbag design from skateboards, old license plates or seatbelts.
Either way disposable or unused items find a new life as recycled handbags.
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