Independent Handbag Design Awards

Scarola’s bag of bags

I was so excited to see a sustainable bag win the Audience Fan Favorite prize at theIndependent Handbag Design Awards. Suzanne Scarola of Bellabags made her bag (above) by knitting plastic bags by hand.

This candy-wrapper bag by Ecoist won “Best Green Handbag”

Helen Marcoschamer of Ecoist detailed her bag’s winning eco-cred:

q: What is your bag made out of?
a: Recycled and Repurposed Candy Wrappers

q: What made you decide to create a “Green Bag”?
a: To merge design with social and environmental consciousness to provide stylish, functional, and durable products that people will love to own. All our products are made from recycled, organic, or earth-friendly materials, and are manufactured through our network of fair trade partnerships around the world. We wanted to reduce landfill waste and with every bag sold, we plant a tree.

q: Where are you bags made? Are they made by hand or manufactured?

a: They are made in Mexico and Peru. Once we get the discarded wrappers from factories, the wrappers are then cut, folded into straps, weaved, and sewn by skilled artisans. Each one is 100 % handmade. Ecoist is proud of its fair trade practices and contributions to social causes.

q: Where are bags sold?

a: Throughout the US, UK, Japan, Latin America, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Europe.

Check out the finalists to see other great bags that didn’t win, but came close.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.