I love this story and the pictures that come with it.
German company, Zirkeltraining, has taken disused 1950s gym euipment and coverted them into bags, laptop cases and wallets. What once was a pommel horse is now a holdall and the company also uses old gym mates and trampoline nets. Also as there really is a limited amount of this stuff available, the products are genuine limited editions and unique.
There’s also a video which shows you the bags which I’ve embeded below. It probably has a lot of good information in too but as I don’t speak German, I wouldn’t know.
Finding alternative green materials to the most commonly used synthetic materials out there is often a challenge. I was delighted to be sent a Act2 GreenSmart horizontal messenger bag. The bad also comes in a vertical version and in Storm Blue.
I’ve put together a quick video of the bag so you can see all it’s features. If you can’t see the video please click here.
It features front and back zipped pockets, magnetic snaps on the front, three smaller inside pockets, two large inside pockets, with the second one divided into two and padded for your laptop. Using 30 16 ounce PET (plastic) drink bottles as the material, this is the easiest plastic to recycle (symbol 1).
The bag is great, certainly large enough to contain everything, er, a messenger bag should contain. It’s stylish (my wife loved the colour!), strong in my tests, and it certainly looks like it’s durable and tough enough for day to day use.
My only slight concern is the price. At around $70 – $75 it’s not the cheapest bag out there, but looking at ones of similar style, build and quality (as far as I could tell) it is only about $10 more than comparable “non-green” laptop messenger bags that I could find. Of course you can get bags for $30, as you can for $300, so although it may seem expensive it’s a matter of getting what you pay for, and in this case I think that’s a lot.
Made by Act2 GreenSmart they are available from a few places including agreenplace4u for about $74.99. The vertical version is $69.99.
The Great Bag is another addition to our reusable comparison chart. And what an addition it is.
More expensive than some other reusable shopping bags at $19.99, The Great Bag proves to be worth the price. Made from 100% quilters quality cotton (which apparently has a higher thread count and increased durability – I’m not sure if it’s organic though), the bag is strong enough to carry up to 40 lbs. The 18″ handles make the bag easy to carry over the shoulder.
What the picture won’t tell you is how soft the cotton is. It feels high quality and it is, hand made in the USA. A nice feature are the three hooks is has, made to fit in US grocery stores bag holders to make it easier to fill up. At 13″ high, 11″ wide and 7″ deep it still folds up neatly but can carry a lot of shopping.
There are a variety of bags designs available and being handmade look great. They’re available from The Great Bag.
To compare bags, check out the other bags in our reusable comparison chart.
The Best Bag is another reusable shopping bag, made by Performance Packaging. Made from rip-stop polyester, the bags are another addition to our chart of reusable shopping bags.
The bag is available in a few different colors, is machine washable and carries a five year guarante. Along with carrying a lot of shopping too (ho ho)! It can be folded up just like you would fold anything, but also it has an internal attached pouch that it can be folded into. Just follow their simple how to fold guide.
The bags are only currently available for bulk orders online, though you can pick them up from a few selected grocery stores. You can also get your logo printed on the side, which would be good for corporate gifts. They have a Best Bag Blog too.
We’ve tested a lot of reusable shopping bags on Life Goggles and there is a huge variety in the style and type. You can see them all on our Reusable Bag Comparison Chart, and the latest bag we have proves that there is always something new.
ReJAVAnate take burlap from coffee roasters that would be otherwise sent to landfill (about 800,000 tons go every year), and make them into reusable shopping bags.
They work with a company called The ARC, who help over 140,000 individuals with developmental disabilities to find employment, to hand make the bags, and then they sell them to individuals and organizations who “want to make a statement about reducing paper and plastic bag consumption”.
The bag I received was lined and pretty large at 15″ by 15″. It’s very sturdy, I’m not sure what weight it can hold but was my choice for drink bottle and cans as it seemed one of the strongest bags I’ve used. It arrives in an old Vans shoe box, with a proud stamp on the inside that said “Shamelessly shipped in reused packaging”. I like it!
They have a variety of bags, medium and large, plain or with different logos, and lined or unlined ranging from $9 to $11. You can buy them online at ReJAVAnate.
Buka Bags are our latest addition to our Resuable Bag Comparison Chart.
The bags are made from cotton, so are washable, measure 18″w x 15″h x 7″d and have 25″ handles which make them long enough to go over the shoulder (just about). Weighing at only 10 ounces when empty they are strong enough to hold 25 pounds of shopping.
They’re available in a variety of cool designs, I got the “I get around” bag and the range even include ones in black (shock, horror!) so you don’t have to have to have the usual cream color.
As I don’t go shopping that often I’m getting used to testing bags by, frankly, stuffing anything I can find it them. Including neighbors pets, so I can testify that this bag can hold a small dog. For about 5 seconds until he ran off to do better things. Besides animals, the bag is pretty big and sturdy but folds up relatively small and therefore works for me.
Buka Bags sells them for $16.50. Check out the other reusable bags in our Resuable Bag Comparison Chart or all eco reviews on our Eco Reviews page.
Green World Bags make reusable bags that are shaped like US paper grocery bags.
However they’re made from sturdier material (durable, non-woven materials, with reinforced straps and a sturdy liner), that will withstand more than a year of weekly usage and they hold the equivalent of 2-3 plastic bags. This translates to an annual reduction of approximately 700 plastic bags for the average family
Run by sisters Trina Koller and Trudy Balestreri in my new home town of San Diego, Green World Bags set out to make great looking bags that are practical and long lasting. They have a variety of fantastic silk-screen printed designs that make them much more interesting that other bags, but not more expensive.
When they finally wear out, they can be recycled. A four pack only costs $19.95 (or $7.50 each) from Green World Bags.