Lighten Up for Spring with an Eco-Friendly Wristlet

BlogHer Original Post

Big winter purse weighing you down? I'm trying to declutter and lighten up the load I carry around this spring -- the better to leave my hands free for environmental activism -- or for a night out dancing at the latest green nightclub. Here are five cute little eco-friendly wristlets to consider:

For rugged urban style: English Retreads Clutch. Why burn rubber on the road when a cute upcycled clutch -- made from from old truck and tractor inner tubes -- is light enough to swing from your wrist as you walk or bike to your next green event? Made in Colorado, English Retreads' purses look sleek, are easy to clean, and prove pretty much indestructible; I have a few-year-old, well-worn English Retreads Cruiser purse that looks good as new to prove it. This 8" x 5" x 2" wristlet costs $45.

For the belted look: Harvey's Minnie Wristlet & Coin Purse. Like English Retreads, Harvey's deconstructs once-car components into upcycled eco-accessories. I own one of these wristlets, and aspire to really paring down my going-out accoutrements enough to actually make everything fit into the tiny thing. The almost two-dimentional 6" x 3.5" clutch will let you squeeze in a Blackberry, lipstick, ID, and cash -- and nothing else. Minimalists can buy this one for $38.

For shiny flash: Rebagz Mini Bag. Stand out and shine without buying expensive bling. Upcycled from otherwise landfill-bound juice packs, Rebagz' mini bags are handwoven in the Philippines under fair labor conditions -- a practice that has earned Rebagz Green America's Seal of Approval. Each bag's just 8″ x 6″ X 1.5″ and costs $24, a dollar of which gets donated to Global Exchange.

For the strapless look: The Sidekick Wristlet Clutch. Finding eco-friendly, handmade clutches on Etsy's quite easy, since many crafters have adopted upcycling ways. But the Sidekick Wristlet Clutches made by Katie B. in Atlanta really stand out for their unique, strap-free design. Katie, who blogs at Burjeune and Etsies at a store by the same name, says all her items are handmade using recycled or reclaimed fabrics and leather, sourced from small, independent businesses. Her 13" x 5.75" clutches cost $47 each.

For the proud upcycler: Eco Wave Wristlet. I tend to like sleekly designed upcycled goods that don't loudly advertise the fact they're upcycled -- but other eco-fashionistas don't share my style. If you really like to announce your upcycling ways on your sleeve, hang an Eco Wave Wristlet on it. Made from recycled rice and feed bags by women artisans in Cambodia working under fair trade conditions, these wristlets really announce their upcycled-ness with their textures and prints. The tiny clutch's just 5.25" x 8.75" but offers a couple compartments -- one zippered, one open -- held closed with a magnetic clasp. Get one at Global Girlfriend for $22.

For more eco-friendly clutches at Etsy, check out these upcycled leather and upcycled wool cuties. Own -- or made -- an eco-friendly clutch you love? Share your recommendations in the comments.

Related links:

>> Luanne Bradley at EcoSalon rounds up cute raffia clutches for eco-fashionistas who want to pare down for warmer weather.

>> Gerri Miller at MNN writes that Glee’s Jayma Mays "often carries a clutch purse made from soda and beer can pull-tabs."

>> Maggie Marton encourages cat owners to enter a contest -- by designing a handbag that'll be made by upcycling cat litter packaging! Three winning designs will be made into real handbags.

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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.

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