Do you think about sustainability when you buy a new handbag or purse? I like to be fashionable and eco-friendly! If you want to help save the planet by doing the simplest things, then please read on to learn more!
The problem with traditional leather
Handbags are traditionally made of leather, chosen for their chic look and durable nature. As you might already know, leather is made from the tanned skin of animals as a byproduct of the meat industry. However, nowadays, the leather industry is an entity all of its own, and, each year, billions of animals are raised and killed solely for their skin! This is sad but true! Leather is also treated with chemicals such as arsenic, chromium and cyanide to make them longer lasting. This leads to workers being exposed to these dangerous toxins every day, putting their health at risk!
Overconsumption, labour inequalities and environmental damage
Lately, the fashion industry might have unfortunately been directly responsible for numerous problems such as overconsumption, labour atrocities and environmental damage. Needless to say, if you need to buy a new handbag, you might be better off searching for ones made by more ethical means.
Eco-friendly Alternatives to Leather
Next time you need to buy a new handbag, opt for ones made from these sustainable materials:
- Plant-based vegan leather alternatives: These include pinatas, apple leather, SCOBY, fungi, and cork.
- Recycled PET or nylon: This vegan leather alternative is recyclable and commonly made with recycled plastic bottles or discarded fishing nets.
- Polyurethane (PU): This also is easier to recycle and more sustainable to produce.
- Vegetable-dyed leather: Plant-based agents in tanning provide durability—without toxins. Manufacturing water can be recycled, and workers are safer, too.
- Chrome-free leather: As the use of some harmful chemicals is avoided, this is a small step in the right direction.
- Other materials include canvas and jute, palm or raffia leaves for a woven, straw-like fibre.
Supply chain and labour practices:
The eco-friendly business model ensures that everyone involved in material sourcing, manufacturing and shipping is supported with decent living wages, safe and healthy work conditions, and fair and respectful treatment.
Green business practices:
Green business practices include using green energy, carbon offset programs, closed-loop manufacturing, recycling programs, sustainable shipping initiatives, and biodegradable packaging materials. The handbags also have certification from Certified B Corp.
Community and charity:
As you would agree, purpose comes before profit! Therefore, many eco-friendly brands give back to charitable organizations that benefit the environment or society.
Examples of trendy sustainable handbags and purses :
O My Bag
This sustainable handbag brand is based in Amsterdam and is available for both women and men. It is also a certified B Corp product! The materials that are used in its production are vegan leather and ethical canvas. You can repair and recycle their products. Moreover, each handbag comes with guidelines that help you extend its lifespan! Also, its packaging is made with FSC-certified recycled cardboard boxes. Its factory also uses 100% renewable energy to power its office and stores and offers carbon-neutral global shipping. In addition, 1% of O My Bag’s annual revenue is donated to support local projects focussing on women’s empowerment or education.
The products of this brand include essential oil bags, tablet clutches, and cosmetics bags that can double for an earthy and stylish clutch any day. These sustainable handbags are made of a buttery soft yet durable cork exterior with linen lining, making them PETA-approved vegan. Also, cork fabric is a renewable and sustainable material made from a tree that absorbs 5 times the amount of carbon dioxide as regular trees because they grow quickly! It also makes for environmentally friendly handbags that are washable with mild dish soap. In addition, Carry Courage’s cork originates from the world’s cork mecca in Portugal, where it is grown sustainably and sourced under strict harvesting regulations. Also, their linen is organically grown at a family-owned farm in the US, and the metal hardware also comes from a US company. As for manufacturing, their labour studio in Portland is used. It’s a matter of fact that each of carrying Courage’s sustainable bags is hand sewn in small batches, which eliminates many machine emissions and wasted overstock. It also guarantees customers “heirloom quality” pieces that will last for generations.
Now that you have learned a lot about sustainable handbags and purses, their products and new brands in the market, you can be better informed when buying your next new handbag! Say yes to sustainable fashion! Let’s protect our environment and society! I wish you a happy shopping! Please share your comments below!