Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ecoist handbags and accessories reduce trash and help families

You've probably seen those bags made out of candy wrappers and chip bags -- they've been in lots of fashion magazines. I had heard about them, too, but had no idea the company that sells them, Ecoist, is right here in Miami.

Last weekend when I went on the Chevy Eco Chic Tour, I got to visit the Ecoist office and learn more about how the fun bags are made. Our group went to an upstairs room in the Wynwood Art Gallery area and found several shelves displaying the colorful bags of all sizes.

Total eye candy!

Candy for real -- many of the bags are made out of candy wrappers like M&Ms. Other bags are made out of chip bags or soda labels, all what's called post-industrial. See these rolls of labels?

Ecoist gets these from companies that would normally throw them away because they are changing the label. So they get saved from landfills or incinerators.

The label manufacturers in Peru hand them over to workers there who are skilled at folding the labels just right and sewing them into shape to create the Ecoist bags. Some of the workers, all working by hand, are mothers with young children. Ecoist is certified Fair Trade, so you know that these moms and others are getting good pay and not working in a sweat shop.

Saving items from landfills + paying workers a good wage = win/win for the environment and society.

And, of course, the bags are just plain cute.

I love this little leafy clutch.

But I also love the newspaper tote too.

The Ecoist office is full of other items made from wrappers. Take a look at these lamps! And the mannequin's hat!

The workspace is so open and funky that I imagined designing and creating there ... not sure what, exactly, but oh, I did imagine....

Want to win this Ecoist Diet Cherry Coke change purse? (valued at $22)

To enter, please comment below about your favorite item from the Ecoist site. I'll randomly select a winner next Friday. (Also check out the $20 Bloomingdale's gift card giveaway here.)

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Chevrolet provided a day of visits to green Miami businesses including Ecoist and transportation to and from them. They also provided a gift bag with items like a tire gauge/pen set. Ecoist gave each person on the Chevy Eco Chic Tour an Ecoist bag, and I have decided to give it away to generate more interest for the company. Opinions and silliness are my own.