Tip of the Day – A Greener Backpack

Posted on August 5, 2008 by Allie

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A backpack or schoolbag is another common item on the back to school list.

Look for hand-me-downs and thrift store finds.  Don’t be afraid to give the backpack a good wash.  Give new life to an old backpack with iron on patches, ribbon and cord, or fabric paints.

If you need to purchase a new bag, look for a sturdy bag that isn’t too trendy.  Explain to your child that you’re buying the bag to last for several years, not just one.  Choose neutral colors.  I still have and use the sage green canvas messenger bag I used for all four years of high school and through college.  It’s classic and neutral, and it’s still in once piece, so I never felt the need to get rid of it.

If you need ideas for a new bag, check out these eco-friendly options.

There are a lot of backpacks out there made from PET, a fabric made from recycled plastics (like soda bottles).  Check out this one from luggage.com, this one from Neiman Marcus, or this one from ebags.com (pictured above).

Ecolution has hemp backpacks and messenger bags, and so does RawganiqueHemp is a renewable resource, improves the soil as it grows, and doesn’t require herbicides to grow well, and requires little water.

Keen has a wide selection of bags made from recycled polyester and other recycled materials.

And, Simple, one of my favorite companies, has the Combover messenger bag.

While you’re getting a bag ready for your child, consider giving a bag to a foster child as well.

No Comments +

  1. Sigh. I’m so IN LOVE with Simple’s bags and messenger bags. I’m really tempted to get one even thought I KNOW I don’t need one. :(

    August 5th, 2008 at 5:54 pm
    Comment by arduous
  2. I know! I’ve been drooling over the Blottoe Bag for like a year now. I’ve been carrying the same purse for about 6 years now. IT WON’T DIE! I’m praying for the strap to break or something so I can buy the Blottoe guilt-free . . . although I suppose I could try to make my own bag out of old khaki’s or something.

    August 5th, 2008 at 5:58 pm
    Comment by Allie
  3. I covet the Overload myself. So cute and it’s actually fairly reasonably priced!! Christ. I’ve been a non-non-consumer for 2 days and apparently I’m already an advertisement for Simple.

    August 5th, 2008 at 6:17 pm
    Comment by arduous
  4. Can I tell you how much I love Simple, too? SO, so much.

    Great suggestions, and I look for bags with lifetime warranties for my kids, too. Cheaper and more eco-friendly in the long-term, and as you say–bags can always be customized with patches and stuff.

    August 5th, 2008 at 6:46 pm
    Comment by Amy
  5. I had a Jansport backpack for years, and the strap broke, so I sent it back, and they fixed it and sent it back to me. That was a bunch of years ago, but still, I liked that policy. I eventually sold it in my yard sale. Live on, little backpack, live on!

    August 5th, 2008 at 7:16 pm
    Comment by Noelle
  6. I love seeing people climbing or backpacking with a faded thirty-year-old pack. Makes my heart sing!

    August 5th, 2008 at 11:53 pm
    Comment by mickey

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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