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Diane MacEachern

Professional Eco Expert

Best Eco Hand Bags & Best Green Handbags

Featured On:

  • LadiesHomeJournal
  • ReadersDigest
  • GoodHousekeeping
It’s easy to get your hands on a green grocery bag these days. Some stores are giving them away – others charge a mere $.99 for the opportunity to forego paper or plastic. But buying an actual purse that’s environmentally friendly can pose quite a challenge. Most high-end bags are made from leather that’s been tanned and dyed in ways that are far from “eco”. And canvas or cloth purses may be fashioned from cotton or petroleum-based synthetics that rack up some significant environmental costs during the manufacturing process.

The purses featured here break the mold in a few important ways: they’re made from recycled materials: some of the manufacturers contribute a portion of their profits to environmental initiatives; they use low-impact dyes; and they’re made, not in sweatshops, but by local artisans who are paid a fair wage for their work.

These bags set the standard for eco-friendly accessories. They’re creatively crafted from materials that would otherwise end up in the landfill, yet they’re so colorful, you can’t imagine seeing them anywhere but on your shoulder. A terrific alternative to pricey leather, conventional cotton, or petroleum-based synthetics. Take a look.

Sport the best eco hand bags for the latest styles without the planetary guilt. We suggest the best green handbags from recycled materials, hemp and other eco friendly materials.

Best Big Green Purses by Diane MacEachern

The Best You Can Get

  • Ecoist

    Diane says: These clutch purses, totes, wallets, and handbags are fashioned out of movie billboards, soda bottle labels, soda can pull-tabs, and candy wrappers, as well as jute, hemp and organic cotton. There’s a lot to look at here. Start with the fair trade jute bags designed by Nazly Villamizar. The dyeing is done by hand with 100% vegetable products, while the unique zipper sliders are made of Tagua seed, also known as vegetable ivory.

  • Alchemy Goods

    Diane says: Go beyond “purse” to consider messenger bags, haversacks, totes, and gym bags crafted from recycled vinyl mesh, rubber and other reclaimed materials. I particularly like the “Ad Bag,” a stylish sack constructed from super-strong, recycled vinyl mesh whose first life was as a billboard plastered on the side of a building in Seattle. No two bags are alike, so “the only thing you'll be advertising is your individuality,” says the manufacturer. This material was originally designed to withstand harshest wind and weather. When you need to clean it, just wash it down.

  • Gypsystyle Bags

    Diane says: Made from 100% recycled plastic, these bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Spirited colors liven up the stripe patterns on styles as diverse as a cosmetics bag, sleepover duffle, and yoga mat carrier. Use the shoulder bag for cavorting around town, or take it to the farmers market for your weekly produce haul. Durable, water repellent, and very affordable.


    Diane says: This is the one-stop shop for handbags, purses, clutches, totes, and messenger bags made from more materials than you may have known could be recycled. I’m talking 35mm slides, old blue jeans, juice boxes, men’s ties, record albums and CDs, chopsticks, and more! Before you think this eco-trend has gone too far, take a look at the Blue Star totes made from reclaimed sail cloth, or the Chopstick Koo Bag. Sorry to report, the handbag crafted from Elvis Presley’s Gold Album Vol. 5 is sold out.

  • Her Design by Helen S. Riegle

    Diane says: Since 2004, Her Design has used organic, sustainable, and cruelty-free materials to create captivating bags that deliver a conscientious message – “Challenge conventions, live responsibly, embrace style.” The company’s designs celebrate the beauty of natural objects in their products; their manufacturing process has been approved by Coop America. Take a look at the “Sunray”, a midsize, classically styled embroidered ziptop tote, with an inside pocket to hold smaller essentials. Made from recycled polyester, with a PVC-free synthetic leather trim and handles, and bright pink recycled PET lining to accent the beautiful jade green color of the purse.

You will be happy with any of these

  • Vy & Elle

    Diane says: Say “Vy & Elle” fast and you should get “vinyl” – and for good reason. The bags in this collection are crafted from vinyl billboards that have been used nationwide as temporary banner advertisements. The billboards are usually discarded into landfills - unless, of course, they’re recycled into purses, as they are here. The strength of the PVC vinyl, combined with its colorful images, makes for a unique, one-of-a-kind purse that will endure. Notes the manufacture, accenting your wardrobe with a Vy & Elle bag is “akin to carry a piece of art on a shoulder, in a pocketbook or in the home.” There are lots of styles to consider, from the classic hobo to a room clutch, to the “town traveler”, whose adjustable strap allows you to carry it by hand or over your shoulder.

    Worth Noting: So far, the company has recycled more than 100 tons of billboard vinyl through the manufacture of its purses and bags.

  • English Retreads Beetle Handbag

    Diane says: Made from reclaimed inner tubes, these black hobo-style bags are handcrafted in Boulder, Colorado. Two outer side pockets complement two inner pockets and a zipper-to-close top. Choose from four different linings, all made from recycled PET plastic: green apple, pumpkin, quarry blue, and black.

  • Bring It In a Bag

    Diane says: This company specializes in converting natural jute into totes, shopping bags, beach bags, and even long sacks shaped to accommodate wine bottles. Take a look at the garden green vines bag, a beautiful and elegant tote made from jute with cane handles.

  • Rawganique Hemp Purses and Totes

    Diane says: Check out three versatile and chic purse styles from Rawganique. The Hemp Day Purse includes an adjustable strap and one zippered compartment in black or natural. The Crochet Hemp Purse includes one inside deep open pocket, one inside deep zippered compartment, and a handsome 100% braided hemp strap. The Crochet Hemp Tote also doubles as a backpack. Its intricate see-through 100% hemp crochet weave and drawstring closure give a particular snazzy flair. Natural only (unbleached & undyed).

Related Articles

Buy the best eco hand bags without a problem. We suggest the best green handbags that use the greenest products that cut down on petroleum use and pay artisans fair wages. These best eco friendly handbags look great and always offer the best price so you can do your part to help save the planet.