Looking for a new ethical bag? We’ve got you covered with this handy guide to the best sustainable bags available in the UK – from shoulder bags and tote bags to handbags and more.
Wherever you’re going – be it work, school or a fun trip out – a good bag is a non-negotiable item for most of us. But when it comes to carting all of your essentials from place to place – whether you’re a minimalist or an everything but the kitchen sink kind of person (I fall in the middle!) – sometimes we just need an upgrade.
If you’re looking for a new bag, then get sustainability in the bag with my handy guide to some of the best ethical bag brands available in the UK right now. Whether you’re a tote bag kind of person or more of a shoulder bag person, I’ve got heaps of suggestions for you.
Guide To The Best Ethical & Sustainable Bags
To help you find the right bag for you, I’ve found the best ethical and sustainable bags available right now – from vegan-friendly bags to those made of recycled materials – and catering to a range of different budgets.
The price range key for this guide is £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+
Use the quick links below for information about each brand or keep scrolling for the full post:
Budget: ££ – £££
Bag Styles: Tote bags, crossbody bags, clutches and pouches
Vegan-Friendly: Offers some vegan bags.
BEEN London is on a mission to make people see waste in a new light. It does so by taking the waste that normally gets binned and then handcrafting it into beautiful ethical bags that you will want to use every day.
As such, its versatile, timeless bags are all entirely made from discarded materials that would otherwise go to landfill. These include recycled leather sourced from tannery offcuts and trimmings, recycled cotton, recycled felt, regenerated nylon, and recycled polyester.
As well as these recycled fabrics, BEEN London also uses vegan leather in some of its collections. These include vegan pineapple leather made from pineapple leaves, and apple skin leather made from apple peels.
Each piece is handcrafted in the UK to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible, whilst preserving local skills and heritage. Plus BEEN London employs clever zero-waste design techniques. It does so by using only square and rectangular panels in its designs, which produce very little to no waste.
BEEN London makes its bags to last. Plus they’re designed to be repairable and all are made to be easily recyclable.
Sign up to the BEEN London mailing list and get 10% off your first order.
Budget: £ – ££
Bag styles: Tote bags, handbags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags and bum bags.
US-brand Baggu – available in the UK at Trouva – offers a range of stylish eco-friendly and ethical vegan bags.
Its funky reusable tote bags are ethically made in China from one continuous piece of recycled nylon material. Meanwhile, the neck of the bag is used to construct the carrying pouch. This approach helps to eliminate waste during the manufacturing process, plus increases the durability of its tote bags.
Durability is key across all of its other ranges of bags, so Baggu prioritises quality, ensuring that its materials and construction hold up over time and age with character.
Recycled fabrics are also key – so recycled heavyweight nylon, recycled cotton and recycled PET plastic make up key components of its bags.
Sign up for the Trouva mailing list and get 10% off your first order.
Elvis & Kresse
Bag styles: Tote bags, handbags, shoulder bags, attaché cases, and overnight bags.
Elvis & Kresse – available at Buy Me Once – ethically makes truly beautiful vegan-friendly bags from a surprising waste material. That material? Decommissioned fire hoses, salvaged from British Fire Brigades, that would otherwise be binned!
The upcycling doesn’t stop there. Each luxury bag is lined with reclaimed fabric – either reclaimed Burberry textiles leftover from manufacturing or reclaimed parachute silk. This reclaimed fabric has minute flaws which make it unusable for parachutes, and would otherwise be binned. Despite the name, parachute silk is vegan-friendly. It’s made from rip-stop nylon and has no animal products in it.
Its stunning ethical bags are all handmade in England, and repairs for life are offered on all Elvis & Kresse products. What we also love is that 50% of profits from Elvis & Kresse’s fire-hose range are donated to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Budget: ££ – £££
Bag styles: Tote bags, handbags and shoulder bags.
Vegan brand Mashu makes sustainable handbags that combine contemporary design with traditional artisan craftsmanship.
Made using vegan, sustainable and recyclable materials, all of its stylish bags are ethically made in Greece. Here Mashu’s network of local artisans and small family-run factories produce the bags using organic, plant-based, recycled, circular and cruelty-free materials
The materials that Mashu uses include plant-based leather alternatives, such as Piñatex from pineapples, Frumat from apples, and Vegea, a fruit leather alternative derived from grapes. It also uses a bio-based leather known as Bioveg. This is a vegan leather made from a blend of recycled polyester and corn.
Each bag is then lined with organic cotton which has been certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or with recycled polyester. And for bags with handles, these handles are made from wood from offcuts sourced from a local furniture factory, which would otherwise be binned or burned.
The end result is a super stylish bag that you’ll want to use time and time again.
Sign up to the Mashu mailing list to get 10% off your first order.
Bag styles: Crossbody bags.
Roka – available at White Stuff – makes sturdy vegan-friendly and ethical crossbody bags.
Roka’s crossbody bags are sustainably made from recycled nylon – both inside and outside – that’s sourced from pre-consumer waste. This is where fibres are recycled from unused garments, repurposed material and offcuts.
Recycled nylon has a shiny look with a smooth feel, and is weather-resistant and durable, so these bags can stand up to all that you can throw at them!
Packed full of pockets – including a secure pocket on the front, a pocket on the back and additional pockets on the inside – it’s the perfect bag to organise all of your belongings.
Sign up for the White Stuff mailing list and get 15% off your first order.
Bag styles: Tote bags and weekend bags
Looking for a cheap yet ethical tote bag? Kind Bag has you covered. Coming in with change from a £20 note, its fun tote bags are made from recycled RPET premium nylon which comes from old plastic bottles.
Committed to creating stylish accessories that look good and do good, Kind Bag makes all of its bags ethically. Plus it donates 1% of all its sales to environmental causes through 1% For The Planet.
Super strong and versatile, these handy tote bags are great for any occasion, whether it’s grocery shopping, travelling, going to the gym and more.
The bags are made to last, but when your bag does come to the end of its life, send it back to Kind Bag. Here, Kind Bag will ensure it reaches the right place to be recycled so that it doesn’t end up in landfill.
Use the exclusive discount code MORAL15 at the checkout for 15% off your order at Kind Bag.
Bag styles: Shoulder bags
Votch – available at Immaculate Vegan – makes stylish shoulder bags crafted from AppleSkin. This is a plant-based material made using food waste from the apple juice industry.
Votch’s sustainability credentials don’t stop there. The bag is also lined with a fabric that’s made from recycled plastic bottles.
With an internal mobile phone compartment and a secret exterior zipper pocket, it’s the perfect size to hold all your essentials.
Each bag comes with two detachable and adjustable straps – a wider one made from recycled PET plastic and the other made from AppleSkin. This means you can switch up your look whenever you choose.
Get 10% off your first purchase when you sign up for the Immaculate Vegan newsletter.
If you’re more of a backpack person, then do also check out my handy guide to ethical backpacks. Here I’ve got heaps of suggestions for carrying your belongings sustainably. And if you want to go down the crafty route, here’s a handy tutorial to make your own tote bag from upcycled materials.