Want to be stylish AND help tidy the planet of plastic waste? Check out these recycled plastic vegan bag brands!
By Lora O’Brien
Bags – where would we be without them, huh? They’re practical, stylish and there are more and more recycled plastic vegan bag brands popping up all the time. But before you dive in and buy the first bag you see, there is a lot to consider before you buy. I’ve bought all too many bags before now in a spontaneous frenzy of thinking it’s what I needed at that moment only to regret it a while later – oops!
So, to reduce the risk of ending up with a wardrobe full of bags that haven’t seen the light of day in years, let me help you to make your purchase an investment into a useful vegan bag that will be well-loved months down the line.
First thing’s first: bag checklist
Needs: First, and most importantly, what are your needs? If you’ve got a busy schedule, you may look for a bag that holds your lipstick for work as well as your gym wear for a workout session. A new mom? A backpack is a perfect way to carry your baby-changing essentials!
Size: There’s no point going large if you don’t need to carry much, the same as there’s no point overloading a smaller bag if you’re looking to transport lots of items.
Functionality: The next vital factor is the functional aspects of your bag. Does it have enough compartments? Can you carry a laptop if you need to do so? Is there a space for your water bottle?
Quality: It goes without saying, even though it’s made from recycled plastic, it should also be durable enough to last pretty much for decades. See how to buy a high-quality vegan bag here.
Features: When picking a bag, consider the features you’d like. Do you need it to zip up? Are the handles long enough to hold? Does it have padded straps for comfort when carrying?
Style: Some may not consider this one as important, but we do. When buying a bag, you need it to match your style otherwise you’ll use it less as time goes on. If you like neutral bags that go with everything, don’t go for a busy pattern. And if you like a pop of colour, pick one that you won’t grow tired of further down the line.
Now you’ve nailed your checklist, you’ll likely be wondering where to shop.
I’ve rounded up some of my favourite recycled plastic vegan bag brands below. Whether it’s ocean plastic, fishing nets or car parts, these brands all look good and do good!
10 Recycled Plastic Vegan Bag Brands We Love
This Los Angeles based accessories brand was founded by an animal loving husband and wife duo.
The inspiration behind the brand was upon the idea that fashion should be accessible, effortless and empowering. Minimalist design in sustainable vegan materials is at the heart of what JW Pei stands for, and of course, sustainability is key.
They use high quality canvas, PU and of course, a certified fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, in their diverse designs. These include ladylike purses, chic backpacks, and my personal favourite, the puffy Maze crossbody bag, below. This is one of the most stylish recycled plastic vegan bag brands we know of!
Best for: The compassionate fashionista
Creating fashion that empowers women and helps to simultaneously restore the earth, Mother Erth is a brand that is focused on making the planet a better place for us all. Intercepting unrecyclable materials before they can pollute land and oceans, their team of skilled artisan moms transforms them into colourful works of art.
Using the tradition of hand-weaving to repurpose strips of upcycled materials into vibrant accessories, Mother Erth not only keeps pollution from the planet, but also offers women in rural areas access to markets to close the poverty cycle. This is definitely one of the kindest and most ethical recycled plastic vegan bag brands to support!
Perfect for: Adding a unique splash of colour to your wardrobe.
Matt & Nat is a vegan bag brand that probably needs no introduction. They were one of the first labels to make cruelty-free bags that were trendy and covetable. But Matt & Nat weren’t always the most sustainable of brands – until now.
Their FW20 capsule collection, called the Purity collection, kicked things up a notch when it comes to sustainability. The outer of each bag in this series was made from 100% recycled car windshield glass resin. How cool is that?
Perfect for: Splashing out on the investment bag that will outlast fashion trends.
Image credit: kleidermaedchen.de
When it comes to caring for the planet, Rothy’s is transforming eco-friendly materials into classic style staples that look just as good as they feel! Continually striving towards being zero-waste, Rothy’s combines the best of zero waste 3D technology and handcrafted assembly to create machine washable styles that don’t compromise on comfort.
Rothy’s handbags are made from repurposed plastic water bottles saved from coastlines. They’re then transformed into stylish, sustainable, washable accessories. The marine plastic used in these bags has been collected from 30 miles of coastlines and marine environments. While it’s hideous in the ocean, the use of marine plastic actually helps to add a structured feel to these chic, timeless bags.
Perfect for: Totes, totes, and more totes! Rothy’s have a huge collection, from tiny to huge.
It’s a shocking statistic that 55% of all waste ends up in landfill. But one brand tackling this head-on is LaBante. The brand creates handbags and purses, and their range of vegan accessories have already saved millions of bottles from reaching the oceans and landfill sites.
The recycled lining of their vegan handbags is made by taking the plastic bottles and breaking them down to make pellets. These are then melted, cooled and spun into yarn. LaBante also use recycled fabrics for their dust bags, and their paper tags are both recycled as well as recyclable.
Perfect for: All your wardrobe needs! They have everything from clutches to large totes.
Did you know that only 9% of the plastic produced worldwide gets recycled? Shocking, right? But thanks to brands like ACE, they’re fighting to protect the planet through their range of handbags and accessories. The main material of their collection uses ECONYL®, which is a regenerated nylon made from waste, such as fishing nets recovered from the oceans.
ACE is also working to close the loop when it comes to fashion. The circular fashion brand not only uses regenerable nylon, but every ACE bag comes with a promise of recycling through their give-back programme. Customers can return their end-of-life bags back to ACE who will recycle the old material, transforming it into new products, ensuring they close the loop.
Perfect for: Weekends away – ACE’s tote bags are super roomy, perfect for travelling!
The those upon which Ucon Acrobatics exists is simple: animals are not expendable and they must not suffer for our products. Their first backpack launched back in 2016 and was made primarily from recycled plastics and reused materials. In fact, around 20 plastic bottles made each one backpack – cool, huh?
Leading by example to showcase how the destruction of our planet should be a thing of the past, the brand is creating durable, timeless designs for the urban nomads. Honouring passion, creativity as well as the planet, Ucon Acrobatics creates high-quality bags and backpacks that teach consumers that less is more, whole catering to their everyday life.
Best for: Creative souls who share our passion for minimalism, innovation and functionality.
Being conscious of what your bag is made from doesn’t mean you don’t want it to look good, too! Born in Milan, THEMOIRè is a chic sustainable accessory brand that aims to generate a positive change for both people and the planet. This gorgeously designed brand protects nature with its reuse of materials. Even the tags on the bags are made from recycled paper, and all packaging used is both reused or recycled.
THEMOIRè’s SS21 collection is redefining luxury thanks to its use of hemp, paper, cork, recycled nylon, organic cotton and raffia to make its designs. Their beautiful textures and natural hues are inspired by the elements, such as earth, water and fire. The perfect chic statement clutch for any outfit!
Best for: High fashion vegan bags that are as sustainable as can be.
Millican’s iconic Maverick collection of sustainable rucksacks and bags have been redeveloped to work harder and travel longer, all with the help of their new Dalton Canvas fabric. The material is hardwearing, lightweight and waterproof, making these the perfect bags to invest in for thrillseekers.
The 100% recycled material is crafted from post-consumer waste and has a classic canvas texture. The bags are created to take you anywhere – from a mountain trail to a city commute. Built to last and designed to age well, all of Millican’s collection is designed for outside living while reducing environmental issues such as plastic pollution.
Best for: Anyone looking for a bag to take them on a lifetime of adventure!
When it comes to repurposing plastic into products we use daily, Lefrik is a bit of a pioneer. Established back in 2012, they started designing urban bags, backpacks and travel essentials using the highest quality fabrics that were crafted from recycled plastic PET bottles.
Created to solve travel and city commuting problems, Lefrik fuses fashion with functionality to create innovative products made from lightweight and resistant fabrics.
By reducing their use of virgin polyester and extending the life of discarded plastic bottles, Lefrik also saves energy in the production process. These really are bags that you know do good as well as look good.
Best for: The commuter looking for a lightweight unisex bag that’s both stylish and functional.
If you’re a parent, you will have likely faced the search for the perfect bag to carry all those newborn essentials. Forgoing the conventional style changing bag, I opted for a Tiba & Marl backpack when my daughter was born, and never looked back! The vegan brand is the perfect cruelty-free accessory for any parent, traveller or office worker.
They’ve recently launched their Concept Eco Changing Backpack made from recycled materials – and it’s super cool! The backpack is lined with pearl grey nylon made from recycled plastic, and it even includes an internal laptop pocket. In short, it’s the perfect bag for modern life.
Perfect for: The whole family! The brand offers something perfect for men, women and children.