Spring into a newer, greener handbag

Photo: escama.com/conserveindia.org/bazurashop.com

Spring is here and it's time to put away that tired winter handbag. There are plenty of clever bags out there that are enviro-friendly and able to withstand global spring showers.

Spring is here and it's time to put away that tired winter handbag. There are plenty of clever bags out there that are enviro-friendly and able to withstand global spring showers.

Recycled advertisements
Get a groovy bag constructed in Brazil from discarded roadside billboards and sold by District Cotton. Carry something hip and trendy that is sure to get you noticed.

The greenest
You won't find a greener bag than one from CONSERVE. This recycling and waste management NGO employs rag pickers from the slums of New Delhi and helps them create the most amazing handbags from the plastic they have collected. Since the material is already headed for the landfill and the process doesn't require any additional toxic dyes, these bags are super-green. They are also the trendiest accessory out there and a must for any eco-fashionista. Buy them direct from the company or from Hip and Zen.

Recycling the small bits
Every wonder what happens to all those pull tags from aluminium cans? If they're lucky they end in the hands of Escama. This San Francisco company commissions women artisans from the impoverished neighbourhoods of Brasília, Brazil to transform the tags into elegant handbags. Each one is a handmade work of art and the accompanying label introduces the artisan who created your particular bag. Sure to be a conversation piece.

Has the market zipped up
The Canadian web retailer Eco-handbags simply has the best assortment of bags for the conscientious consumer looking for something unique, fashionable but created from recycled and eco-friendly materials. Take the Zipper bag by Brazilian designer Neide Ambrosio. This artist has created a mesh bag using silver zipper heads linked together and lined with soft material. It's an amazing piece of work and completely original. If zippers aren't your thing, the website lists bags by the types of materials used, so that finding your enviro-clutch is a cinch.

Wearing the road
Passchal Products have been on the green radar list since the business was first launched in 2004 and were immediately snatched up for the swag-bags at the Billboard Music Awards. Ex-welder Ken Kobrick and inventor Angela Greene created their trendy wares from used truck/tractor tire inner tubes, hand dyed leather or non-leather faux trim. You can literally wear the road. Even cooler, each bag comes with it's own light that shuts off when the bag is closed. To date, Passchal has reused more than 14 tons of inner tubes!

Michelin never looked this good
Co-founders Dianne Borden and Robin Gilson, have dubbed their fashionable bags "Eco-Trashion." VULCANA is another durable line made from recycled car tires. Water- and scratch-resistant, you can shine these babies up with a damp cloth. There is a diverse selection of bags from the petite to the large and roomy as well as other cool accessories. Watch for new, eye-catching bags made with their newest creation: hemp-fused Vulcana.

Carrying your bike
Avid mountain biker, Shannon Hames, was so bothered by piles of old inner tubes in her basement that she started cutting them up to create her line of Flat Bags. These square carriers have a comfortable courier strap and combine vintage 1950 vinyl with used bicycle inner tubes for colourful, sturdy and trendy bags. They are also perfect for biking in the rain. Flat Bags has happily recycled more than 13,800 ft of inner tubes! Shannon wants to thank all the cyclists as well as the bike stores who continue to donate.

Juicy handbags
Stop garbage from heading into the landfill, save some kids from a sweatshop AND make a fashion statement all with one small purchase! Bazura Bags helps impoverished women in the Philippines make a decent living at creating bags made from recycled empty drink containers. In turn their children can go to school and be guaranteed a future free of sweatshops. This company is single handily responsible for creating the fashion trend of using tetra pak containers for accessories. Each bag is unique so you'll never see someone carrying yours.