Six Fun Ways to Carry Trash

In my last article, I introduced you to the world of inspiring chairs and their recycled parts. This time I’d like to show you that inspiration doesn’t always have to be so big and loud. Sometimes something as simple as a purse can make an impact on our society and the way we think about recycling.

Why a purse? Why not? Women (and some men) buy purses all the time. I know a woman who has a purse for every outfit she owns. I personally find that this is a little too excessive and unnecessary, but she is young and single with a good job. If that is what she wants to do, then good for her. Still, I would like her and everyone else to know that, in today’s fashion world, there are a lot of options of environmentally friendly purses to pick from. The purses below are only a handful. Which purse would you choose?


1. Candy Wrappers Handbags

Candy Wrapper HandbagsCandy Wrapper HandbagsThey are durable, cute, colorful, spacious and made with discarded candy wrappers. What are they? They are Candy Wrapper Handbags. Handcrafted and environmentally friendly, these stylish little handbags give a whole new meaning to the life of a candy wrapper. The handbags come in various shapes, sizes and colors. You can thank Ecoist for making it happen. In addition, for every handbag bought, Ecoist will plant a tree in an area that has been affected by a fire, hurricane or even industrial development. Ecoist doesn’t just sell handbags either. Ecoist makes candy wrapper bracelets, belts and placemats too. So, get a handbag for yourself and a bracelet for someone else and know that the purchase of your handbag has kept the green going and the trees growing. See Recycled Handbag


2. License Plate Purse

License Plate PurseLicense Plate PurseSome people like to personalize their license plates. Others like to hold on to them and carry it with them everywhere they go. How? They carry it as a purse. Discarded license plates have come a long way from decorative restaurant wall hangings. Today you can walk around fashionably with your License Plate Purse and feel unique. With velvet lined interiors and a crystallized twist-knob closure, this purse is all you need to carry your essentials. Pick between the two main categories: State or Designer purse. Under the State category, you get to pick the state you’d like to represent (some states are still not available). Under the Designer category, you get to choose a design that fits you best. These elegant little purses are as unique as they are colorful and artistic. Whatever choice you make, you can feel good about helping Littlearth reduce waste. Littlearth has more than license plate purses too. Take a look at all the other accessories, shapes and designs available. Want to send a license plate purse as a gift? Gift wrap it for $4. See Recycled Handbag


3. Focused SkateBoard Bag

Focused BagFocused BagI’m not sure who this bag is suited for best, skateboard fans or people who really like distinctive bags, but there is no denying that this is a one-of-a-kind bag. Made from old and broken skateboards, these bags are more than just environmentally friendly; they are creative and beautiful too. Each bag is handcrafted and can be customized to your liking. It is possible to send certain items to be placed on your skateboard bag, but you must first contact Focused (created by Sophie Mason). You may pick from the four available styles of bags: Switch, Big Spin, Hurricane, and No-Comply, and make your purchase through the Focused ebay shop. If all you are interested in is selling your skateboard, you can do that too. You could always do both. It is up to you. See Recycled Handbag


4. Francisca Pull Tab Clutch with Strap

The ‘Francisca’ Clutch with StrapThe ‘Francisca’ Clutch with StrapWhat’s happening to all the aluminum pull tabs? Believe it or not even aluminum pull tabs can be recycled and transformed into well-designed purses. Crocheted with nylon thread and aluminum pull tabs, these handmade purses have caught my eye. Over 500 recycled aluminum pop-tops have been used for every ‘Francisca’ Clutch with Strap. Pick from 4 available colors: black, silver, champagne, and olive green. If you are not sure which color you want. No worries. You can see the color of the purse online before you purchase it. Other purses are available too: Chica Rosa, Socorro and Masha. The Masha is hand crocheted with over 1600 aluminum pull tabs. Soda anyone? See Recycled Handbag


5. Book Purse

Book PurseBook PurseIf you like books and can't stand to see one damaged no matter how used or old the book is, then I suggest you don’t read about this item and skip down to the Album Handbags. But if you’re at all curious, believe in recycling, would like to show off the title of your favorite book or if you just simply like purse fads, then take a look. These books aren’t books anymore. They are purses. The pages have been replaced by your personal belongings. I find it fascinating that when you get home, you can just stash your purse away in any bookshelf and only very nosey people would know the difference between a regular book and your new Book Purse. Call me narcissistic, but I’d love to get by hands on the Book Purse with the book cover titled Gloria by G-Ferederic Turner. See Recycled Handbag


6. Album Handbags

Album HandbagsAlbum HandbagsDo you like music? Do you like handbags? If so, how about combining the two and proudly displaying your style of music with an Album Handbag. Every handbag is made in the United States with the original album cover. The album covers are laminated for water protection and durability. They come in three different sizes: small, medium and large. There is a purse for a variety of music tastes and styles - from Elvis to Madonna to Faith Hill to Black Eyed Peas. Get this, you can even host your own Album Handbags party, if you are ever interested in more than just buying these handbags. See Recycled Handbag


Are you still having trouble choosing the right purse for you? Then imagine yourself in a new outfit. Which purse would you reach for? Now that you’ve made your choice, put on that cute outfit, grab your new environmentally friendly purse (or other eco-accessory) and go. Be proud and know that as you live in style with your pretty purse and as your friends swarm your bag in jealousy and admiration, that though you did spend quite a bit of money acquiring it, at least you acquired a purse that helped reduce waste in our landfills.

Gloria Campos-Hensley

Oct 9, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

I think they are UGLY

Perhaps only "bag ladies" would find them appealing?

Oct 13, 2006
by Jessy (not verified)

I think they are cute.

Way to be a tree hugger anonymous. I think that the more expensive fashion label bags are sometimes more hiddeous than these. For petes sake, celebrities are running around with "hobo bags"! Weren't hobo bags once identified as bag lady bags or granny bags (like the ones your grandma took to the buffet line and stuffed with chicken). Have some sense of style as well as respect for the planet. Like David Spade says, THERE I SAID IT.

Nov 27, 2006
by Marie (not verified)

License Plate Purse

The "License Plate Purse" is a totally cool idea!!! I had the personalized license plates that my daughter's father and I had on a vehicle re-done into a purse for her 18th Birthday and she loved it. All of her friends wanted one. It is a great idea, especially for expired plates that hold sentimental value!

Nov 30, 2006
by Anonymous (not verified)

Non-profit Chip Purses!

The Ecoist bags are cool, but go to to see a BETTER twist on this. BasuraBags are made of all recycled chip bags from the street and ALL of the profits go back to the town they were made in (small town in Honduras). The woman who started it is a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Check them out, it's an awesome cause and a beautiful purse!

Feb 9, 2008
by AnnMadeArt (not verified)

soda tab bracelets

We've been making these beautiful soda tab bracelets "Bracelets with a Conscience" for a little over a year now. They sell in 15 retail stores in 3 states and we now have a website, as well. ( By the results we've seen so far, there are many people out there that find that fashion and being eco-friendly can go hand-in-hand. Not only are the bracelets attractive to wear, those buying our "Bracelets with a Conscience" know that we also donate a portion of each sale to environmental causes. If we all do something small, together we can achieve big things.

Feb 10, 2008
by Pop Top Lady (not verified)

Pull Tab Purses

Check my work. I am an independent artist working with recycled pull tabs, making all kinds of interesting things...not juts purses...