The Best Sustainable Bags to Channel Eco-Friendly Style
Going green doesn't mean sacrificing style or quality.
There are so many ways to incorporate sustainability into your everyday life—but the one you’ll probably use most often is an eco-friendly bag. A step up from a simple tote but with much less waste than cheaply produced fashion, a bag or backpack is one of the few “must-have” items where an investment in something new makes sense. Plus, the more you use it, the more your investment pays off.
JanSport’s been helping adventurers get exploring since 1967, and that mission’s expanded to include protecting the outdoors and reducing emissions. Thirteen million plastic bottles’ worth of recycled plastic go into the making of these bags this season alone. It’s a major step—but also just the beginning. Below, you’ll find a selection of some of our most sustainable bags, and how to make them a permanent part of your wardrobe.
It’s now acceptable to use a backpack instead of a purse or bag—for men and women—because it’s more practical and fits way more. The classic JanSport bag comes in a dozen colors, from solids to camo print to psychedelic patterns. The popular, ultra-light style is an everyday staple for students, but it can also be an opportunity to branch out a bit from your classic taste. Never tried a pattern? Do something subtle in black and white; it’s not too out of the box, and it’ll go with everything you own. Hoping to be even more sustainable? Try the recycled version of the SuperBreak (JanSport’s most sustainable bag ever), which comes in five colors.
The SuperBreak Plus
It’s the SuperBreak, but even better. The SuperBreak Plus comes in more colors and fits more of your essentials, including a water bottle. There’s also plenty of room to store clothes, supplies, extra gear, or picnic supplies without looking overstuffed. And if you’re worried it’ll get too bulky, never fear—the light construction makes it compact and lightweight. The best part might be the built-in laptop sleeve, because everyone’s carrying along a computer or iPad to get things done these days.
The Big Student
It’s called “big” for a reason: The Big Student will fit absolutely everything you need, even if you should be weighed down by books and supplies. But choosing a design that complements your wardrobe could make it surprisingly sleek; that Viking Red is a nice pop of color, for example, if you tend to go towards Black, White, and Deep Grey. Made out of recycled fabric, this is also the perfect bag for explorers, since it maximizes storage space and comfort while not feeling overly burdensome. Extensive, long-distance trips might not be on the table right now, but the bag works for short journeys too.
The Lunch Bag
If you’re just looking for a fun, dedicated lunch bag, JanSport has you covered there too. These bags could look like a mini-backpack or a small sack, but what they don’t look like is your lunchbox from middle school. It’s easy to carry these around unobtrusively, and you’ll save money, time, and energy bringing your food from home. Plus, you can use less plastic than you would ordering takeout and—in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic—stay safer by eating outside.
Looking for other ways to go green? Here’s how to make your closet more sustainable.
By: Katherine J. Igoe