You may have noticed that I don’t talk a lot about bags on this blog. That’s because I’m honestly not a huge fan of the sustainable and ethical options for bags and backpacks out there.
I like my bags durable, functional, no-fuss, and of course, stylish. Most of the ethical and sustainable bags I’ve seen haven’t met all of my criteria, or are way out of my price range.
One of the things that has held me back from buying bags from ethical fashion brands is that I’m still unsure where I stand on the real vs. faux leather debate. Both are environmentally damaging in different ways, and while I don’t want to support animal suffering, I’m still hung up on the downsides of faux leather, which include a much shorter lifespan, toxicity, and not being biodegradable—which end up contributing to eventual human and animal suffering, as well.
However, I also haven’t seen many stylish, eco-friendly bags that aren’t made of real or faux leather, either…until now!
Grunbag: Bags from recycled materials, designed in Denmark
grünBAG (pronounced groon-bag) is a Danish brand that makes durable, long-lasting bags and backpacks out of recycled materials, such as tarpaulin, commercial banners, soda bottles, and even lifeboats!
This is such a genius concept. These materials are made to be extremely durable and weatherproof, so why not repurpose used and surplus materials that would otherwise be tossed away to make durable and weatherproof bags?
In addition, the bags are handmade in Denmark by the founder and two “redesigners”! The grünBAG team is made up of only six people, which helps them ensure that everyone is paid a fair wage.
My grünBAG review!
grünBAG generously gifted me their backpack in black.
Style: My backpack is made from surplus truck tarpaulin, a shiny and smooth material that is a lot more comfortable on the skin than I expected. The fold-over top style reminds me of other weatherproof, functional backpack brands like Timbuktu. I absolutely love the statement block lettering on the velcro strap; it gives the backpack an edgy street vibe that makes you look a little cooler than the five other dudes with water resistant, roll top backpacks on your morning commute. Ok, that’s probably not relatable unless you, too, live in a city overrun by tech bros…but the point is that it’s quite a stylish bag with some European street flair.
Function: The tough, water resistant tarpaulin exterior is perfect for the perpetual precipitation of Seattle. It’s also a “low-maintenance” bag in the sense that you can toss it around without worrying about damaging it, and that it’s easy to clean. Because it’s so resilient and low-maintenance, it would make a great travel bag as well as an everyday commuter bag. Another plus is that the bag itself is extremely light. The backpack has a laptop pocket and two other small pockets for chargers, pens, and other knickknacks. The only thing it’s missing, in my opinion, is an outside pocket for a water bottle.
Price: The price is a bit steep at €128 (which converts to roughly $150), but not at all bad compared to fancy weatherproof bag brands like Timbuktu, which can cost twice the price or more. I think that if you’re looking for a durable, water resistant bag that will last you a long time, a grünBAG is a great investment.
If you’re looking for a durable, stylish, ethically made, vegan, and eco-friendly bag, look no further than grünBAG! They also have a selection of shoulder bags and travel bags made from other recycled materials.
What sustainable and ethical bag brands do you love? Let me know!
Top: bought from a woman with a really dope stall full of handmade 100% cotton tops in Thailand
Shorts: bought a few years ago from Unif
Shoes: Allbirds wool loungers (review)
Backpack: grünBAG backpack in black
Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by grünBAG. I received a fee and was gifted products in exchange for my creative work (styling, photography and writing) and an honest review. No amount of money or product is worth more than my relationship with you, and I strive to provide transparent and honest content. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me!