Eco chic: Upcycled purses that double as one-of-a-kind works of art

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What is so amazing about these items is that they fall under the category known as 'upcycling'. Instead of recycling, or converting the already used materials into new ones, the upcycling movement takes materials that would have gone straight to a landfill and instead uses them to craft marketable goods. Upcycling is something that can be financially rewarding to more than just the artist who creates unique goods from “trash”, however, because consumers can gather together their household waste and receive money in return.

There are so many professional upcycling groups that consumers will now find some of their products on shelves in the “big box” department stores. This might be pencil bags made from discarded potato or snack chip bags or even backpacks made from juice pouches.

Each of these items is easily a work of art and skill because they usually demand such activities as weaving, sewing, knitting, or crocheting to complete them. They can usually be seen as a very personal expression of style, but they also demonstrate a commitment to the planet as well. To see a full eco collection of great green artists visit


Do you tend to stop people on the street who are wearing eye-catching clothing or a unique accessory and and ask them, where they got it from? Maybe you’ve seen one of those handcrafted purses made from recycled materials like gum wrappers or juice pouches walking by, and thought," I want that!"  It passes you and you can’t stop thinking about it.

You can get crafty and try to make them yourself or you can find them at, a locally-based online eco store. They have an array of clutches, totes, handbags and backpacks from repurposed newspaper, juice boxes, VHS tapes and even seatbealts.

Consider how eco-friendly and totally trendy toting a backpack made of recycled seatbelts will look, or the statement made by a recycled newspaper purse showing texts and graphics from around the world. What about a yoga bag made from colorful bags once used to store fish feed? There are also wallets made from recycled inner tubes, totes woven from old cassette tape, and gorgeously colored bags and totes of all kinds made from sturdy and waterproof juice boxes.

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