Eco-friendly Bags

…or, what am I missing?

Reading about recycled leather handbags this week over at Cheap Jap got me thinking. Yeah, there I go again! What in the world is so eco-friendly about a bag made of man-made materials?

True, no animals are harmed but I doubt that wearing a plastic purse is going to save many cows, pigs and lambs since leather is a by-product of the meat industry. I don’t think the world is going to give up meat anytime soon so I consider it more socially responsible to use as much of the animal as possible. I know this probably sounds odd coming from an animal-crazy former vegetarian but this is simply my way of thinking. Also, leather lasts longer and, being a natural product, is biodegradeable. Man-made leathers wear out more quickly and do not degrade (don’t even get me started on how cheap they look). Besides, just as Cheap Jap says, if you think I’m paying $995 for a nylon purse, you are all kinds of crazy.

Recycling? Now, that is a trend that I like. I often save old bags for the leather or the hardware if it is still in good shape and I made a bag a couple of years ago from leather recycled from my bar stool cushions – it had that aged ’70s look that I am so fond of. But, I laugh when this is called a “trend” since we sewers (and quilters) have been doing it since the beginning of time!

My idea of an eco-friendly bag? Those canvas things you bring to the grocery store.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Eco-friendly Bags

  1. Pingback: Eco-friendly Bags | Handbags Blog

  2. Claire

    I too would rather carry leather or a fabric/leather combo (Coach). I’m guilty of purchasing one handbag this spring that isn’t leather. I just loved the style and I wanted a patent bag and didn’t want to pay a ton of $$. I’m hopeful that since it’s a good name it won’t look cheap when it gets here…we’ll see. I too shall continue wearing leather jackets, gloves, shoes and handbags.

  3. Sing it, sister. It’s interesting how easy it is to get completely off track with eco-friendly and green things. The fact that biofuels are contributing to a food shortage (though I honestly think greed and speculators are the biggest factor) shows how a notion that seems good can go terribly wrong with little prodding.

    So I will continue to carry my leather bags, wear leather shoes and bring my canvas shoppers to the grocery.

  4. It’s amazing how fashionable it is to proclaim “green” and “reduced carbon footprint” with no real thought at all. It is the latest selling mantra.
    I agree: DIY and reuse! Another “Aren’t You Glad You Sew?”

  5. Pingback: leather handbags

  6. agreed, 100%.
    Yup, I’ve read too much lately about people sewing “green”, all the while using petroleum derivative fibers, and I scratch my head wanting to know just how that is “green”. I do love some of those string crochet or macrame bags to use in place of the plastic grocery bags though.

  7. Deb.

    I think some retailers get the “eco-friendly” thing wrong. Then again it’s now the in thing and everyone is trying to make a buck. I didn’t get a chance to visit the website you were talking about, but the idea behind the plastic/man-made items is that the items are supposed to be from RECYCLED man-made items. That’s the thing a lot of the people who are hocking it are missing–the whole recycled thing. Instead of letting that plastic sit in a landfill for a billion years resuse it and make it into something useful. Now, I would not spend a ton of money for a plastic purse whether recycled or not. Hope I made sense eventhough a lot of the eco things don’t. BTW Love your website.

  8. Jawa

    Most leather used in luxury, designer goods is not the by-product of an animal raised for meat. These animals are just raised for their hides, as hides in animals raised for consumption are not as pristine (due to branding, tagging, disease, crowding, etc). Just something to keep in mind.