Gallery: ESCAMA HANDBAGS: Made from Recycled Aluminum Pulltabs


What’s better than a beautiful chic handbag made entirely from recycled materials? How about one that is not only eco-friendly, recycled, and supercute – but also engages fair-trade and socially empowering business practices by employing Brazilian craftswomen in hand production of the bags?

The word “Escama” means fish scales in Portuguese, and we can’t think of a better way to describe these gorgeously chic handbags – which indeed look like fish scales, and also a bit like a softer version of chain-mail. Happily, Escama’s purses are as ethical and eco-friendly as they are cute and clever, meaning you can splurge on one of these babies and actually feel like you are doing something positive for the planet.

This versatile, glamorous yet practical Escama handbag shown above is made from over 700 aluminum pull-tabs recycled from soda cans in Brazil. The artists who make the bags work in two craft cooperatives in economically depressed ‘satellite cities’ of Brasília, Brazil. The cooperatives offer women in the community a means to earn money through handicrafts and business training. Prices of goods are set by the cooperatives, artists are paid fairly for their piecework, and in addition, Escama donates 3% of gross annual sales directly back to the cooperatives.

The best part is that each bag is individually handcrafted by one woman and each comes with a personal note from the artist who made it, connecting consumer and producer through quality design. I personally own two of these bags (the Socorro and Chica Rosa) and I get a ton of compliments whenever I carry them out in public. I can honestly say that Escama is one of my favorite designs of all time, and I cannot say enough good things about this fabulous company and their brilliant designs and globally integrated manufacturing process. Go Escama!

+ Escama

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  1. Ilean Whitley May 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    how do i get a price list

  2. CO9 Cloud March 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Inspirational, loving the whole up-cycled idea! @CO9Cloud :-)

  3. Nat October 25, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I ordered one of these from a catalog several years ago and LOVED it! I too got tons of compliments and people always commenting on my unique bag. Recently my bag was stolen from my suitcase when it went through security (that wasn’t very secure was it!). I guess that great looking bag was too much of a temptation for the security officer. So I had to track it down to order another one!

  4. Michael E Mixell November 1, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    I like to know where i can get directions how to make the hand bag out of pull tabs i make skirts tops shirts bottle holder belts out of pull tabs my tabs are held together with metal rings

  5. Michael E Mixell October 9, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    I like to know how the bag was made and like to know where I can soda tabs at cause i make bottle holder belts and shirts out of pull tabs I like to know where I can get a lot of them

  6. doris steiner June 14, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I have one of these purses and always get many compliments. How can I order another?

  7. Mersin March 30, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Maybe I’ll make a wallet out of gum wrappers to compliment this lovely bag.

  8. Brian Jones March 21, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    I LOVE these bags. I have seen a few on the street, and they turn heads. It’s great that they cause so much positive impact not only on the lives of real women in need of a break, but they also recycle. It is true – Ronald McDonald House is big in pull tabs, and I have heard that Escama does indeed source from them so it’s all good!
    Plus – they are fabulous!

  9. AbbeyK March 21, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Maybe I’ll make a wallet out of gum wrappers to compliment this lovely bag.


  10. Ron Zartman March 20, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    I happen to know that many of the tabs used to make these bags are purchased directly FROM the Ronald McDonald house, so do not despair Pamela! It’s all good and many many people are directly and positively impacted by the Escama bags.

  11. Michelle March 20, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Wow! Those look labor intensive. I think they look great in an industrial modern way. They look far better than those recycled candy wrapper bags.

  12. Michelle March 19, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    These pull tabs handbags are a great idea. In fact, they make more than handbags. I actually own one of their belts. At first, I was a bit self consious wearing the belt, because I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not… But actually, when you’re not examining them up close, these items are far more discreet than these images would lead you to believe. Plus, you are recycling and helping out underprivileged women. What more could you want?

  13. Sheldon March 19, 2007 at 5:42 am

    Thinking back to the pull-tap chair, I like the way they have joined the tabs on these bags, particularly from the first picture. Using silver/grey thread I think highlights the tabs a lot better compared to the zip-ties (and just looks nicer IMO)

  14. Pamela March 19, 2007 at 5:02 am

    I am sorry I would rather they be given to the Ronald McDonald House Pop Tab Collection program.

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