Each travel, duffle, shopping and computer bag that hits the stores adds to the ongoing use of synthetic fibers, environmental pollution and waste. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Terra Thread has taken that idea to heart with a line of bags that are sustainably and ethically produced.

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A yellow backpack sitting on a wooden floor

In fact, the mission of the company “is to create the best Fairtrade certified organic cotton bags by always being sustainable, ethical, traceable and transparent.”

Related: Cariloha luxury textiles use organic, sustainable bamboo

The back of two blonde woman with bags: a backpack and a slung bag pointing at a mountain in the horizon

Its approach towards this goal is multifaceted, starting with the materials sourced for its product line. Terra Thread products are made using Fairtrade Certified Organic Cotton. This is cotton from farmers that are guaranteed fair pricing for their product. The farms are small and mostly family or community-owned. Rainwater is the primary source for watering the cotton plants so it requires few resources to produce, which means a small impact to the planet. 

The back of a boy wearing a backpack walking beside a girl biking wearing a backpack

Fair Trade also ensures safe working conditions, gender equality and other benefits. In addition, the cotton is organic, so it’s grown without chemicals. This is not only good for the skin it touches, but also for the environment, soil health and wildlife

The back of three people wearing backpacks turned toward the ocean

Terra Thread products are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) too. This means that not only is the material organic, but the process of turning it into bags is also fair and ethical. GOTS certification ensures a safe standard throughout the spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing of the bags. It’s important to Terra Thread founders, a father-daughter duo, to be transparent in the supply and production chain. 

Terra Thread products are made in a Fair Trade USA Certified Factory. In addition to the materials being Fair Trade Certified, the factory conditions are also evaluated to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and a voice for workers within the work environment.

A woman wearing a yellow backpack

With the focus on safe, fair and eco-friendly material sourcing and production, Terra Thread bags also produce less waste. In contrast to bags made with petroleum-based materials, when Terra Thread bags hit the landfill at the end of life, they won’t leach chemicals into the soil or stick around for generations. 

Terra Thread understands the process of making any goods results in some carbon emissions, so the company is committed to investing in carbon offsets in order to remain carbon neutral overall. For example, Terra Thread invests in a reforestation and afforestation project that plants trees in order to sequester carbon from the air and improve degraded land.

A light blue backpack in a field of flowers

So far, the project has contributed to reforestation for over 12,000 farmers in India. This not only improves the land, but also provides an economic livelihood for the farmers. Terra Thread also supports a solar energy project in Rajasthan, India, which generates clean and renewable electricity. Food insecurity is an issue close to the heart of co-founder Vik Giri, so together with his daughter and co-founder Vizan Giri, the company contributes to Feeding America’s campaign to end hunger in the U.S. 

Terra Thread offers a selection of bags that include backpacks, gym and duffel bags and laptop sleeves. It produces different sizes and provides several color options. The description of each product includes an impact section so you can see the effect your purchase has. For example, the Earth Backpack results in the donation of meals to children and families in need, 268 days of drinking water saved, three miles of reduced driving emissions and the support of 66 square feet of pesticide-free farmland. 

A black backpack

Personal Review

Terra Thread sent me its Earth Backpack in black for review. The package arrived quickly. It’s based out of California even though the materials and production are sourced from India, so there was no international travel to get the product to me in Oregon. 

The packaging was minimalistic and plastic-free. Just the way I like it. Even the sweet note inside was printed on recycled paper. Product tags are also sourced from natural materials and the bags are colored with GOTS-certified dyes. 

The first impression of the backpack is its durability. It’s a thick canvas material that’s heavy to the touch. The buckles, zipper and stitching all speak of quality. Unless something unforeseen happens, this bag is built to last. It’s also equipped with thoughtful features such as a generous outside pocket with zipper closure and drink holders above either hip. Inside, the backpack has a built-in pouch for smaller items and a full-depth section for a small laptop. The central area of the bag is large enough for a change of clothes or several large books.  

The company also provided a canvas cosmetic bag called the Honua Pouch. This bag compresses flat for efficient storage but expands to hold a fair amount of makeup or other goods. The two-tone coloring is striking and the quality matches the backpack. 

I really can’t say enough about the fortified edges and attention to reinforcements around high-pressure areas of both bags. Durability is one aspect of sustainable production and I see both of these bags being around for a very long time.

+ Terra Thread 

Images via Terra Thread

Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Terra Thread. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.