When I started doing my research on eco-friendly tote bags, the plan was to write just one blog post about totes. But there turned out to be so many, I knew I had to divide and conquer. In this post, I decided to focus on a fun variety of totes – and that’s recycled tote bags. Recycled and upcycled totes have a backstory to tell. There’s real ingenuity in the sourcing of materials, with the goal of reducing waste while still creating a great-looking and durable bag. So, here they are – a collection of recycled tote bags. Don’t leave home without one!
Vowing to be completely carbon neutral by 2025, Patagonia is a pioneer when it comes to creating sustainable clothing, accessories, and gear. I have boundless respect for this company and their brand!
Patagonia’s Planing Tote is the perfect beach bag because it had compartments to separate wet things, like a bathing suit or towel, from dry stuff, like a book and your cell phone. There’s also an external mesh pocket that expands to hold items you need quick access to, such as your flip flops or wallet. Plus, the bag’s convenient grab handles make it easy to convert into a backpack.
This tote is made with recycled polyester.
Here’s a video from Patagonia on this this super versatile, recycled tote bag:
This hardy tote bag is strong enough to carry a set of tools and it will stand up to years of use. It’s made with a fabric blend that combines super strong and sustainable hemp canvas, recycled polyester, and organic cotton. And the lining is made with 100% recycled polyester.
Perfect for road trips, as a gym bag, or an airplane carry on, Patagonia’s Planing Duffel Bag is made with recycled polyester and nylon.
It has a separate compartment for wet gear, like towels, your wetsuit and bathing suit, plus other compartments that will keep your other belongings dry.
Here’s a video from Patagonia about the Planing Duffel Bag:
A socially conscious brand, LaBante London donates 10% of their profits to charitable causes. All of LaBante’s accessories are 100% vegan. But while their totes and other bags look like they’re made with leather, in fact, they’re made with recycled plastic and other eco-friendly materials.
You can see LaBante’s purses in my post about vegan handbags.
Haiku’s brightly colored tote bags and other accessories are made with 100% recycled plastic bottles. Every Haiku bag keeps at least five plastic bottles out of the landfill or from polluting the ocean. You can see more of Haiku’s recycled bags in my posts about vegan handbags and eco-friendly messenger bags. Or, visit their shop on Amazon to see their collection.
A great urban commute bag, the Sherpani Cabo tote can be converted from a shoulder bag into a backpack. It’s made with water-resistant recycled materials and it has an RFID-protected pocket to protect your digital information from identify-theft. This handy bag also has an interior sleeve to hold a tablet computer.
Every Cotopaxi Taal convertible tote bag is one of a kind – the artisans who make the bags select the color scheme for each bag they sew from repurposed nylon fabric.
This bag has an inside zipper pocket to hold your valuables, plus a separate pocket that will hold your reusable water bottle while protecting other belongings from condensation.
The perfect errand and grocery tote, these colorful bags by Blue Q are made with 95% post-consumer recycled materials. They’re practically waterproof and very easy to clean. Plus, they’re super strong, with capacity to hold 30 pounds.
Upcycled Tote Bags
Used tires and inner tubes are a scourge on the planet because they can take 80 years to decompose, and if they’re burned, they emit toxic chemicals. Plus, we keep making more of them. Alchemy Goods is playing a role in reducing tire waste by repurposing used inner tubes and turning them into durable, water-resistant accessories. To date, they’ve kept over 500,000 inner tubes out of the landfill.
All of their products are produced in their workshop in Seattle, Washington. You can see more of their upcycled tire accessories in my posts on vegan backpacks, eco-friendly messenger bags, and recycled wallets.
Tube Bags Thailand is another designer that’s doing their part to eliminate used tire waste. This upcycled tote bag is handmade by artisans in rural Thailand. You can see more upcycled tire accessories by Tube Bags in my posts on vegan handbags and recycled wallets.
AfriEco Designs creates colorful, one-of-a-kind totes and others bags with recycled, upcycled, and natural materials. This colorful tote bag is handmade from other used bags. AfriEco’s founders are based in Germany, but they travel to different countries in Africa to help create manufacturing jobs for local craftspeople in Fair Trade conditions.
You can see upcycled laptop cases by AfriEco in my post about eco-friendly laptop cases and sleeves.
Upcycling by Milo makes colorful, one-of-a-kind accessories from a wide array of upcycled materials, including vinyl records, billboard signs, candy wrappers, and vintage advertisements. You can see more of their designs in my posts on eco-friendly laptop cases and vegan backpacks.
These adorable tote bags are made with reclaimed sail cloths. The appropriately named Sea Bags creates all of their one-of-a-kind bags in their workshop in Portland, Maine. The handles on these tote bags are made with sustainable hemp rope.
What to do with all those giant burlap coffee bean bags when there’s not more coffee in them? Turn them into unique, eco-friendly tote bags! Sack Cloth makes a few different styles of bags and other accessories with reclaimed coffee bags.
Handmade in Cambodia, these colorful recycled tote bags are made with reclaimed cement and feed bags. Perfect for beach days or trips to the farmers’ market, these bags are super durable and easy to clean. Plus, they have an inside zip pocket to hold your valuables.
These socially-conscious bags are made from reclaimed bags and other materials in association with the nonprofit International Women’s Association KEP. The organization helps to create jobs for disadvantage women in Cambodia. Your purchase goes towards helping these women become more self-sustaining.