Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bags With a Story To Tell

I've been slowly working my way to becoming more green. The one area that I'm doing really well in is cutting down on the number of plastic bags that I use and throw away. ( I still use plastic bags occasionally - but the quantity is so small that I can re-use those bags for other things before they hit the dump. I used to have so many that I would just trash a lot of them)

I mentioned my recycled cotton shopping bags in my last post - and if you saw the original draft of the last entry you saw me mention something called basura bags. I thought I'd make an entry with my wish list. :)

I love to use items that have stories behind them. That's why I love family heirlooms and antiques. It didn't just come from the local Wal-Mart - - there's a history, a reason that it is here. So - in addition to the fact that I surprisingly love the appearance of these bags - I also love their story. Info on Basura Bags from

Note: Basura bags are handmade using colorful recycled juice containers to form cool, one-of-a-kind styles. While the pictures on our site will give you the general look and feel, the bags produced vary in color – they are all great looking and the variety is one of the things we love about them!

Bags are made in the Philippines by a women's cooperative, utilizing used juice containers. These containers are purchased through a network of local school children. Indestructible and non-biodegradable by nature, foil juice packs clog landfills, fields and streets throughout the Philippines. Using clever designs that combine the material's strength & brilliant colors, the co-op helps keep the environment clean via this very cool method of recycling.

About Basura Bags

Basura Bags come from a women’s co-op in the Philippines that set up a Livelihood Project assisted by the local village council. With almost no capital, the women found a very clever way to support themselves.

Every day, children from the local schools collect over 50,000 used drink containers, called doy packs, then sell them to the co-op. The bags are sanitized and the women sew them together into attractive, durable bags.

Unlike most third world factory workers toiling away in sweatshops, these women are entrepreneurs and shareholders. They work for themselves and have a positive impact on their community and, at the same time, they encourage environmentalism.


It's estimated that millions of juice containers get thrown in the trash everyday in the Philippines.

Here are the bags I would love to own:

Medium Insulated lunch bag

And because, really, I need one more tote bag to carry back and forth to work

There are also bags by Gecko Traders. Their story is:

Once used for carrying commodities in Southeast Asia, the rice & feed bags used to create these one-of-a-kind pieces have been 100% recycled into a new life as stylish shopping totes. Each is skillfully crafted in small batches by a fully certified Fair Trade Co-op in Cambodia. Constructed with tough as nails material the bags include box stitching at stress point. All bags feature authentic prints & colorful dyes that will beautifully fade with wear.

Fair Trade Certified products guarantee a living wage to people in developing countries. Each bag sold helps provide sustainable living to Cambodian weavers & producers, many of whom are disabled / economically disadvantaged single mothers supporting households. This translates into a better life for many who have been disabled from polio or landmine injury, or pulled from brothels & taught a trade. Produced under the Fair Trade Certified label, these creations bring fair trade into the fashion world while helping people across the world improve their lives.

They make a few different sizes of tote bags similar to the basara bag. But these are my favorite from Gecko Traders:

small bags that would work great as cosmetic bags or whatever:

They also sell what looks like a large and very durable tote-bag made out of recycled advertising banners. But - they don't tell a cool story.

*edit* I should do my google searching before I post my blog entries. There are other "Basura Bags" out there as well. (Though the ones above are still my favorite) was started by a Peace Corp volunteer and uses chip bags from the streets of Honduras to make their purses. Money goes back to Honduras children. seems to be the same group from from I'm not quite sure why spells the name differently.


  1. very cool! I haven't perused in awhile and I had to go check it out. I might consider that tote bag and/or the small insulated lunch bag myself!

  2. If you're interested in becoming more 'green', I recommend biodegradable bags. You can read more about them on or visit my blog at

  3. Sorry, forgot to include my URL...