Gallery: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Back to School Bags


As summer ends and classes begin, students around the world are starting to gear up for the long haul ahead. A sturdy backpack or satchel is an essential, and although the most eco-friendly option is to simply reuse a existing bag, some of you are sure to be retiring your frayed and fading packs. Fortunately Inhabitat has you covered with some fresh eco fashions that will have you toting your school supplies in style. Read on for five of our favorites.

Veteran messenger bag manufacturer Timbuk2 recently teamed up with UK-based Howies to release this cute eco-friendly messenger bag. Constructed out of organic canvas and printed with water based dyes, it’s a summery satchel built tough to weather the test of time.

$135 at Timbuk2

Noon Solar‘s elegant photovoltaic handbags outshine the unfortunate geek factor of other solar accessories. The Cortland bag (shown above) is constructed from vegetable dyed leather, is chrome free, and has an organic hemp/cotton lining. And of course it can charge your cellphone, blackberry and all your other crucial handheld gadgets.

From $330 in the Inhabitatshop or win one here!

The must-have for the ecogeeky student, Voltaic backpacks can charge your cell phone, PDA’s, and other gadgets while also lugging around your textbooks. And if the solar power gadget charging isn’t enough greenness for you, Voltaic bags are also made from 100% recycled PET from water bottles.
$199 – $250 from Voltaic

Students searching for an eco-friendly way to tote their laptops and books should look into Targus‘ recently released line of EcoSmart bags. Constructed from 100% recycled polyester, recyclable plastic, and nickel-free metal finishings, they are a stylish, sustainable, and PVC-free.

$59.99 and up at

Osprey‘s steadfast commitment to eco-friendly materials earn them top marks in the sustainability department. Their Cypher pack is constructed almost entirely from recycled materials including PET, reground buckles, and recycled webbing.

$84 at

Gallery: WIN A FREE SOLAR POWER BAG by Noon Solar!


If you’ve been reading Inhabitat this past week, you might have noticed that we’ve been running a little Back-to-School contest to giveaway some fabulous green goodies, including an awesomely stylish solar powered bag by Noon Solar (worth over $415). Just to make sure all of our dedicated readers have a chance to participate and try for this great prize, we’ve decided to extend the contest deadline by a few more days. In order to enter this contest, you MUST REGISTER FOR THE INHABITAT NEWSLETTER by Wednesday August 27th.

There are just a few days left to enter, so SIGN UP NOW >

Once you register with us, further instructions and contest details will be emailed to you in our newsletter which goes out on Thursday August 28th. Winners will be announced on Friday, August 29th.

Thanks for the great comments so far, and best of luck to everyone who has already entered!

In this week’s email newsletter (which will go out on Thursday August 28th) there will be a question and instructions on how to enter. So in order to receive this newsletter and enter the contest, you need to sign up and confirm your Inhabitat registration by Thursday 2pm EST at the latest!. THEN YOU NEED TO OPEN AND READ THE EMAIL WE SEND OUT FOR INSTRUCTIONS



The first prize winner of our competition will win a solar-powered bag by Noon Solar – your choice of a ladylike midnight ‘Cortland’ handbag (worth $412) or a more manly midnight ‘Logan’ style (worth $452). These beautifully handcrafted bags can charge any small handheld gadgets from cell phones to iPods. If that weren’t enough in terms of green credentials, Noon Solar bags are also made from sustainable materials such as hand-dyed hemp and vegetable-tanned leathers. Finally, these must-have bags are definitely the cutest solar accessories around, powering your eco-chic wardrobe while keeping your personal gadgets charged and ready to go.


The first prize winner of our competition will win a lovely Inhabitat tote bag, stuffed with a Freeplay handcrank lantern and an Inhabitat T-shirt of your choice.


Five runner-up third prize winners will receive an Inhabitat T-shirt (or tote bag) of your choice.

Gallery: NOON SOLAR hot new solar bags for back to school!


Go back to school in sustainable style with Noon Solar sexy new solar handbags! We first wrote about Noon Solar in 2007, when the Chicago-based design company blew us away with their unusually stylish take on the typically boxy / techy solar powered bag. We love the idea of photovoltaic solar power bags in general, but most of the available options are so uninspired in terms of aesthetics, that when Noon Solar’s impeccably tailored designs hit the scene, they came as a breath of fresh air for those of us who want to look good while also trying to do good.

And as if portable renewable energy generation and gadget charging in a sexy package wasn’t enough eco inspiration, all the other materials comprising Noon Solar bags, from hand-dyed hemp to vegetable-tanned leathers, are sustainably sourced as well. While we loved Noon Solar’s first batch of solar handbags, we are thrilled to announce that now the company has a whole new batch of sexy new designs coming out for Fall 2008, so now there are even more options for the hip & tech-savvy lady or gent who wants to radiate sustainable style.

The Chicago company’s latest line of new bags has just been released, consisting of five new eco chic designs that can charge everything from your cell phone to iPod while you strut around town. My pesonal favorite, the Cortland, (probably the girliest design) now comes in a head-turning combination of black and white, and some of the other original designs, like the Logan, also have new color palette updates. There are also several completely new designs, such as the beachy looking Oakley, and the sporty-looking Augusta. Now you have several more reasons to upgrade to a solar-powered bag!

By integrating gadget-charging solar panels into these gorgeous bags, Noon Solar not only offers the convenience of portable power, but also a great opportunity for fashionistas to learn about and incorporate renewable energy into their daily lives.

+ Noon Solar

+ Noon Solar Bags (2007)

$330 and up from the Inhabitatshop


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  1. Carbon tax July 28, 2008 at 11:09 am

    7x $50 trees, that is.

  2. Carbon tax July 28, 2008 at 11:07 am

    I’m in accord with ruhitchcock, these things are all show and do as much for the environment as a “go-green” imported non-organic cotton Tshirt. $350+? Plant 7 x $50 in the parkway and actually accomplish something,,,

  3. ruhitchcock July 28, 2008 at 4:32 am

    What strikes me about these designs is that they wont work when youre carrying the bag. Either you cant get into the front pocket, because it’ll be against your side, or you cant get any sun on the panel because thats against your side! In my opinion it would just annoy me too much to constantly turn the bag to get stuff out the pocket or have to wait til i was sat somewhere to charge my stuff. Dont get all excited too quickly!

  4. July 27, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I was so excited to see this post – I’ve actually been looking for a bag like this for quite some time. Most of the solar bags I’ve come across are more about function than the aesthetic. I’ve had a hard time finding much other than messenger bags or backpacks, so Noon Solar’s line is a welcome discovery.

  5. katelivesinbrooklyn July 27, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Thank goodness – maybe people will stop toting around those horrendous boxy versions, and thinking they’re cool for the idea and not the design and execution. I am very excited about this!

  6. Solartaschen | GreenDeZine July 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    […] Inhabitat » NOON SOLAR hot new solar bags for back to school […]

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