MISSION: Little green bag
Welcome to our first mission.
We wanted to find an affordable, stylish, durable, green and fair bag for our trip to and from work. We have trawled the web and are now delighted to bring you the best of what we found in both the US and the UK. We may have missed some that are out there and not included others for a variety of reasons. Feel free to suggest other options we might have missed or dismissed.
First stop: Ethical Wares (UK)
We found some very funky options at Ethical Wares which is a great site for vegan and ethical products.
These bags are created from 'the used inner tubes from the 7 million cars in Mexico City' and have a great look. Plus being made from inner tubes they are tough as, well, old tires to be honest.
We quite liked the Laptop bag.
Dimensions: Width 40cm x Depth 30cm
In the same style if you want something a bit beefier then you could always go for the classic Rucsac
Dimensions: Width 32cm x Depth 42cm
A bag with a slightly different style is the Tread bag
Dimensions: Width 36cm x Height 22cm x Depth 5.75cm
None of these three bags are organic as such but they do help to recycle used tires.
Are they fairly traded? Well they come from Ethical Wares so one assumes so. Whilst we trust them it would be really nice to know more about the products ie where the come from and who produces them. The more we know the better as far as we are concerned.
Next stop: Global Exchange (US)
Found a couple of really nice bags at Global Exchange. The first is the Recycled Messenger bag which is made from 'recycled feed bags and lined with durable cotton'. Each bag is very tough and unique due to the nature of the design.
Dimensions: Width 15 inches x Height 13 inches
The next one we found at the Global Exchange that made it on to our shortlist was this attractive Messenger Bag. This bag is produced by HempMania and is both produced ethically AND in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Messenger bags are made using high quality Romanian organic hemp fabric and are hand-sewn by 23 young men of Chichicastengo, Guatemala. Love the detail. Can just see these happy and fairly paid guys making my bag for me with real appreciation.
Dimensions: Width 19 inches x Height 13 inches x Depth 3 inches
Next stop: Pure Sativa (UK)
Finding this site made us feel like kids in a toy store. Pure Sativa has a truly magnificent selection of Hemp Rucksacks and Shoulder bags.
Would be impossible to outline their entire selection as there are just so many choices depending on what style and size of bag you are looking for. They are all made of Hemp (obviously) and they range in price from £17.50 upto £39.99. Not sure about whether they are ethically produced or not and could not find info on the website.
Last two stops: Voltaic systems (US) and Eclipse Solar Gear (US)
Imagine having a bag that could recharge your mobile phone, ipod and so on? Well imagine no more.
We have seen and heard about these bags for a few months now and decided to include an investigation of them on our mission. They represent a whole new concept in backpacks and shoulder bags...
Voltaic systems have created the Voltaic Backpack which is selling for $229 and has a capacity of 1650 cubic inches.
Eclipse Solar Gear give you two choices: You can plump for the Reactor Solar Backpack which has a capacity of 1850 cubic inches and retails at $129 or you could go for the Solar Flare Messenger Bag which has a capacity of 1420 cubic inches and also retails at $129.
All three of these solar bags are made from Nylon. We cannot determine whether they are produced ethically or not. All three represent a very good purchase as they promote alternative energy whilst you wear them...just be prepared to field a lot of questions from people when out and about with these bags.
We are sure it won't be too long before someone creates a hybrid bag combining organic material, ethical production and energy independence.
In the end the bag that hit the mark for us was the: Global Exchange Messenger Bag.
We chose this bag which retails at $44.00 for the following reasons:
1) The product is both green and fair.
2) Aesthetically it looks great and looks very roomy and comfortable.
3) The final cost works out at $44 including shipping which equals approx £24 thanks to the great exchange rate.
Hmmmm...shipping was included which is very strange. We hope that is the case and will keep you posted about any hidden shipping costs. Will also provide you with an update when we get the bag and see how it measures up.
It seems that all the products are sourced or assembled 'globally' and so waste fossil fuel in their creation. We would happily buy one in the UK that was made entirely in the UK. Anyone know of such a place?
Will plant a tree with the Woodland Trust to offset that Carbon cost. Adds £10 on to the cost overall.