Gallery: ECOIST Handbags Made From Recycled Trash


Talk about trash to treasure! Where the rest of us saw a candy wrapper, Ecoist founders Helen and Jonathan Marcoschamer saw a material that could be re-used to create unique handbags. And they didn’t just stop at candy wrappers, they also use food packaging, soda labels, subway maps, and newspapers to weave together their stylish, study handbags. Unsurprisingly, the broad range of materials have yielded diverse aesthetics: from the bright and colorful to repeating motifs. The company offers a variety of sizes and shapes, so the eco savvy can show their style with something as small as a coin purse or as large as a tote. Now a selection of Ecoist’s handbags, including their popular Every/Any (three shown above left), are available through the Inhabitat Shop.

+ Coin Purse – $28 (top)
+ Barcode Bag – $28 (bottom)

Ecoist was founded in 2004 and created with the idea to “merge design with social and environmental consciousness to provide stylish, functional, and durable products.” The founders recognized the need to create a product that was more than green, but also had a visual appeal that would make people want to have it and then go out and buy it. And true to their mission, all their products are made through partnerships with fair-trade manufacturers and suppliers, and using materials that are eco-friendly in nature, whether organic or recycled.

+ Ecoist

+ $28- $58 Ecoist at the Inhabitat Shop


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  1. Carla Bluntschli February 24, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I would like to know how to do the crafts with the aluminum paper trash. Do you have an explantation of how to make the woven products with the paper aluminum? Would you be willing to share that so that people in Haiti might learn it as well?

  2. Artyficialeye February 12, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    As in the yuliomac ´s comment this bags have been in Mexico for a long time, and they are kind of cheap. I wondering´if this ones, that cost much more, are made by the same hands and if this called “eco bags” are also ” fair trade” too?
    Nice to put your name in something that was allredy in the market as “yor design” only because they have leather straps, nice try of creativity.

  3. yuliomac January 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    this is not new. In the jails in mexico the people do this things with cigarrette papers. You can buy all the stuff in every fair in mexico df in a very cheap way.

  4. niez January 13, 2009 at 3:14 am

    It’s beautiful. I remember that I ussually made bandage, bracelet and belt with my friends using candy’s plastic when I was kid. But I see that some of those items were made from paper. I wondering if they are water resist. Did the material get some treatment first?Can I have some tutorial for tha handbag making because I’m so exited for those things. thanks

  5. Jute and Jackfruit January 12, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    We agree elepski! What is better than a gorgeous handbag made from all recycled and sustainable material to add the perfect last touch to your wardrobe? We can’t think of much. However, we would like to mention Nahui Ollin, a manufacturing company in Mexico who use a similar weaving technique of recycled materials to make handbags of all sizes and styles! They support fair trade cooperatives and artisans as Ecoist does. However, there are a couple differences between Ecoist and Nahui Ollin we think are worth mentioning.

    The wrappers used in the production of Nahui Ollin bags are weaved thinner and tighter, making the bags more labor intensive. Also, Nahui Ollin highlights different styles than Ecoist. For instance, I gave my mother a Luna Bar Ecoist bag for Christmas. She just loved it! The blue tones are beautifully woven together perfectly. So while Nahui Ollin does not have a Luna bar themed purse, they do have their own special featured bags, like the limited edition Tootsie roll wrapper bag and the “Tooti Frutti” bag, made from wrappers of Mexican candies. Nahui Ollin bags are all crafted by Indigenous Mayan men and women in Mexico, while Ecoist has a broader set of artisan groups they support in more countries. To explore all of the Nahui Ollin handbag collection and styles, we have some at our homepage

    We love both Ecoist and Nahui Ollin, and think they are both selling wonderful products and should be supported. We are glad you chose to highlight Ecoist in your blog.

  6. elepski January 11, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Pretty cool!

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