From apple Leather to Cork: 21 Sustainable Bag Brands in the UK To adore

Girl in yellow top carrying sustainable bag

From apple Leather to Cork: 21 Sustainable Bag Brands in the UK To adore

Hello conscious bag lovers! If you’re in the market for a new ethical bag then this article’s for you. Whether you’re looking for a statement handbag, a versatile crossbody bag or a colourful tote, we’ve got you covered. Our list of 21 sustainable bag brands available in the UK includes some first-class sustainable fashion innovators and some very unique fabrics!

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What Makes a Bag Sustainable?

Just like clothing, there are several factors to weigh up when determining if a bag is a sustainable buy. What materials is it made from? Who made it? And where was it made?

A sustainable bag is also one that’s going to last. Look for well-made, durable items and consider whether the bag can be repaired if needed. And when it’s no longer useable or repairable, can it be recycled?

In terms of design, many sustainable bag brands are offering minimalist, timeless designs. Choose a bag you love and can see being a staple part of your ethical wardrobe for years to come.

Reclaimed and Upcycled Materials

It’s exciting to see so many brands giving new life to materials that would otherwise be destined for landfill. From decommissioned fire-hose to car seatbelts, there are some wonderful examples of upcycled bags in our list below.

Using deadstock material (fabric that is unsold, or has been discarded by other companies) is also a great sustainable option. See our article on deadstock fabric for more info on this topic. Sourcing materials already in circulation helps to reduce waste and helps keep carbon footprints low.

Recycled Plastic Waste

Polyester is often used as a material in bag making. It’s used for exteriors (especially by outdoor brands) as well as for interior linings and zipper fabric. Due to its environmental impact, a number of the UK’s sustainable bag brands have switched to using recycled polyester. This is commonly made from plastic drink bottles and other post-consumer plastic waste. You can read our article for more about about the pros and cons of recycled polyester.

Innovative Vegan Bio-Leathers

Vegan alternatives to leather have traditionally been made from problematic PVC. Considered to be one of the most environmentally damaging plastics, PVC takes thousands of years to break down in landfill. It also has a much higher toxicity level (both in production and wear) compared to other plastics such as polyurethane.

The good news is that there are now several plant-based materials that have been developed as leather alternatives. For more detail on plant-based leather alternatives, see our guide and check out our article on how to do your bit in ending animal cruetly in the fashion industry

The innovative materials being used by brands in our list include pineapple leaf fibre, apple skins, cactus and even fallen leaves!

Ethical Manufacturing: Who Made My Bag?

Look for brands that are transparent about their manufacturing. Responsible brands use independent social auditing companies who ensure that the manufacturers they work with provide good working conditions. Many of the sustainable bag brands listed below work with local artisans using traditional techniques. This helps to boost the local economy and keep traditional crafts alive.

Our article about the Who Made My Clothes movement has more information!

Girl making sustainable bag
Photo by Marília Castelli on Unsplash

21 Sustainable Bag Brands in the UK for Your Next Ethical Purchase

Here’s our round-up of pioneering ethical labels. With some great affordable options as well as luxury pieces you’re sure to find that perfect, timeless bag you’ll want to keep forever.

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1. Magic Linen

Based: Vilnius, Lithuania  Ships to: USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Europe

Made in: Lithuania

Price: £18-£42

Range: Linen tote bags

Sustainability creds: OEKO-TEX® certified, linen sourced & produced in Lithuania & surrounding countries, biodegradable packaging

MagicLinen offer a range of gorgeous tote bags in a selection of stylish colours. These fully biodegradable bags are made from OEKO-TEX® certified linen meaning no nasties for you. As the brand is focused on reducing its waste, offcuts from their on-trend men’s and womenswear and beautiful array of homewares are used.

What’s more, MagicLinen are offering an exclusive 10% discount to Good Maker Tales readers with the code GOODMAKERLINEN10.

2. 3Quarters

Based: Athens     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Athens

Price: £30-£140

Range: Backpacks, messenger bags, shoulder bags, accessories 

Sustainability creds: Reclaimed materials, vegan options, ethical manufacturing, repairs and recycling, gives back

3Quarters creates a range of colourful, upcycled bags made from leftover balcony awning fabric. The fabric is waterproof and strong and each one-of-a-kind bag is individually cut and sewn by hand. So far they’ve reclaimed and processed more than 3 tonnes of leftover fabrics. Their central Athens workshop has an open house policy so visitors can go and check out the repurposing in action. 

3. BEEN London

Based: London     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: London

Price: £65-£295

Range: Backpacks, clutches, crossbody bags, totes, wallets

Sustainability creds: Global Recycling Standard (GRS) certified sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing, repairs service, gives back

BEEN London turns recycled materials into timeless, classic designs that work for all seasons. They take a zero-waste design approach. Their recycled leather comes from tannery offcuts and the polyester zips are made from plastic bottle waste. In addition to offering repairs, they aim for every part of their bags to be recyclable. All bags are handcrafted by artisans in East London making them an obvious choice for our list of sustainable bag brands in the UK.

4. The Manda

Based: Netherlands   Ships to: EU & UK 

Price: €289

Range: Versatile and multifunctional bags 

Sustainability creds: Use of sustainable and vegan materials, versatile styles, demand based production model to avoid overproduction waste 

With designs that offer the ultimate versatile style, The Manda is a European sustainable bag brand with fashionability and functionality at its core. Made from sustainable apple leather, the label’s Everyday Bag comes complete with ample internal room and adjustable straps. Cleverly designed, the bag can be a shoulder bag, handbag or backpack, adapting for whatever the day brings. 

With the desire to craft bags that effortlessly blend style and sustainability, Manda uses apple leather to create its designer pieces. Created from byproducts of the apple industry his innovative material mimics the luxurious qualities of leather without any animals being harmed in the process.

5. Corkor

Based: Portugal    Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Portugal

Price: £54-£153

Range: Backpacks, bucket bags, clutches, cross body bags, shoulder bags

Sustainability creds: Sustainable and natural materials, certified cork, PETA-approved vegan, ethical manufacturing, sustainable packaging

All of Corkor’s products are crafted out of a high-quality cork fabric that looks and feels similar to leather. The classic, versatile designs are 100% vegan and made in-house by a small team of local Portuguese artisans. Cork leather production is chemical-free and due to the simple, natural processing the cork retains all of its unique qualities. It is soft, lightweight and water-resistant.

6. O My Bag

Based: Netherlands    Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: India 

Price: £88-£255

Range: Cross-body bags, purses, weekenders, backpacks, bum bags, work bags, mini bags, and handbags  

Sustainability creds: B Corp certified, use of organic and recycled materials, eco leathers, SA8000 certified factories 

O My Bag is on a mission to change the world, one bag at a time. The label creates chic sustainable bags that would fit in on any trendy city street. The brand incorporates mainly tan and black colour palettes to create styles that are classic and timeless in their design.

O My Bag uses eco leathers, including apple leather, in its ranges. It has created strategies to reduce its emissions and offers a preloved platform to keep products out of landfill. The label works with certified factories and supports a living wage for workers.

7. Latico Leathers

Based: USA   Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: India and South America 

Price: $25 – $390

Range: Cross-body bags, wallets, totes, backpacks, and shoulder bags

Sustainability creds: Charitable and social initiatives, sources sustainable leather 

With the ethos of ‘redefining everyday essentials’, Latico is an ethical bag brand that is the master of effortless elegance. The label seamlessly blends contemporary design, individualised appeal and bohemian undertones in its eco-friendly collections. Latico creates a wide range of bags to suit any taste or occasion. With decades of experience, every bag is a showcase of craftsmanship. 

Latico champions sustainable leather, utilising leather that is a byproduct of the agricultural sector. The label operates with sustainability and social initiatives in mind. Alongside sourcing sustainable leather, the label strives to ensure all leather is sourced from farms that operate ethically. Additionally, Latico also donates to organisations including Feeding America.

8. Elvis and Kresse

Based: Kent, UK     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: UK and Turkey

Price: £160-£350

Range: Briefcases, clutches, crossbody bags, shoulder bags, weekend bags, totes

Sustainability creds: B corp, Global Recycling Standard (GRS) certified sustainable materials, vegan options, ethical manufacturing, sustainable packaging, gives back. 

Elvis and Kresse is one of our favourite sustainable bag brands based in the UK as what they do is so unusual. They rescue the London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned fire-hose and turn it into beautiful, luxury bags. Thanks to them, since 2005 no London fire hose has gone to landfill. The bags are lined with recycled parachute silk. Recently, they have partnered with Burberry to produce a range of fire-hose and upcycled leather bags using Burberry’s leather offcuts. 50% of their profits go to charity.

9. Groundtruth

Based: London    Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Indonesia

Price: £35-£290

Range: Accessories, backpacks, totes

Sustainability creds: GRS certified sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing, bluesign®-certified manufacturers, sustainable packaging 

Groundtruth is on a mission to innovate and use new technologies to create a range of 100% recycled travel bags. Working with a specialist textile mill in Taiwan they have created a bespoke recycled fabric made from post-consumer plastic waste. Each of their RIKR backpacks removes 120 plastic bottles from the environment. Their bags come with a 15-year guarantee.

10. Kula

Based: UK    Ships to: UK

Made in: China

Price: £25-40

Range: Backpacks, bags, accessories

Sustainability creds: Sustainable and natural materials, vegan (registered with the Vegan Society and PETA)

Founded in 2019, Kula’s vegan-friendly collection of backpacks are made out of FSC-certified, reinforced paper material. Paper might sound like an odd choice of material for a bag but it’s a practical and durable leather alternative. It can even be washed in a normal washing machine! The lining for the bags is made out of 100% recycled polyester from plastic bottle waste. We think they’re a very cool addition to our list of sustainable bag brands in the UK.

11. LaBante London

Based: London     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: China

Price: £35-£200

Range: Accessories, backpacks, crossbody bags, shoulder bags, totes

Sustainability creds: Sustainable materials, certified vegan, ethical manufacturing, gives back. 

LaBante London was founded in 2005 out of a combined love of animals, fashion and the wider planet. They offer a stylish range of vegan bags made from recycled materials. For the exterior of their bags, LaBante currently uses vegetable-based Polyurethane (PU). This is made with a by-product of plant oils, reducing many of the chemical hazards normally associated with making PU. It’s also more biodegradable than pure PU and much safer to produce and wear than other types of plastics.

LaBante is transitioning to more environmentally-friendly vegan leathers. Their upcoming handbags and shoe collection is made entirely from apple leather.

12. Labienhecha

Based: Spain    Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Málaga, Spain 

Price: £42-£205

Range: Clutches, crossbody bags, shoulder bag, accessories

Sustainability creds: GRS certified sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing

Labienhecha (“the well-made” in Spanish) combines recycled materials and traditional techniques to make a range of beautiful, minimalist style bags. All of their products are made by a team of female artisans in a small workshop in Málaga. The recycled ‘eco-leather’ that they use is made of waste from the tanning industry combined with natural latex. This new leather material is Oeko Tex Leather Standard certified.

13. Luxtra

Based: London   Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Italy

Price: £45-£300

Range: Backpacks, bucket bags, clutches, crossbody bags, shoulder bags, totes, accessories

Sustainability creds: B corp, sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing, PETA-approved vegan, sustainable packaging, gives back

Luxtra is a conscious luxury brand creating beautiful, timeless classics from innovative plant-based materials. The bio-based leather alternatives they work with include Piñatex®, a material made from waste pineapple leaf fibre; AppleSkin™, a material crafted from waste recovered from the fruit juice industry; and “Desserto”, a cruelty-free textile made in Mexico from organic cactus leaves.

14. Mashu

Based: London   Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Greece

Price: £220-£460

Range: Crossbody bags, mini bags, shoulder bags, totes, accessories

Sustainability creds: Sustainable materials, ethical manufacturing, PETA-approved vegan, sustainable packaging, gives back

Based in the UK, sustainable bag brand Mashu’s bold and contemporary designs are made out of vegan bio leathers as well as hemp, recycled cotton and Bioveg. Bioveg is a recycled polyester material made from plastic bottles and non-GMO corn. Their stylish wooden handles are made from offcuts from a furniture company that would otherwise be discarded. Handmade in Greece, the production supports local artisans and helps to keep traditional crafts alive.

15. Matt and Nat

Based: Canada   Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: China

Price: £40-£270

Range: Backpacks, clutches, crossbody bags, totes, wallets, weekend bags, accessories

Sustainability creds: Recycled materials, vegan

Fully vegan brand Matt and Nat have been developing their use of sustainable materials. For bags and accessories, have a look at their Purity collection and APPLESKIN™ collection. The outer body of bags in the Purity collection are made with a PVB (polyvinyl butyral) made from 100% recycled windshield glass resin. Bags in the APPLESKIN™ collection have outers made with a high content of apple waste. The interior linings of all of their bags are made from 100% recycled water bottles. For more on vegan fashion see our articles on vegan shoes and vegan fashion brands.

16. Canussa

Based: Spain    Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Spain

Price: £88-£255

Range: Laptop bags, purses and handbags 

Sustainability creds: Vegan products, use of recycled materials

Designed to be practical and multifunctional, alongside being fashionable and sustainable, Canussa bags adopt a minimalist and timeless aesthetic. Bags are crafted in Spain and made to an exceptional quality, further supporting the idea that they are designed to be loved for years to come. 

Looking out for people, the planet and our animal friends, Canussa uses recycled materials and creates vegan products. The company engages with tree planting programs and manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint.

17. Patagonia

Based: London  Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Worldwide

Price: £25-£180

Range: Backpacks, travel bags, totes

Sustainability creds: B-corp, recycled materials, bluesign® approved, fairtrade, gives back, trade-in programme

Patagonia is an old hand at pioneering sustainable materials for their outdoor clothing and gear. 87% of their line this season is made with recycled materials. Their backpacks and travel accessories are made from recycled polyester and recycled nylon with a PFC-free finish.

18. Terracotta Row

Based: UK  Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: UK

Price: £69-£89

Range: Backpacks, bumbags, shoppers, totes

Sustainability creds: deadstock materials, vegan options, ethical manufacturing

Terracotta Row is a sustainable bag brand that is not only based in the UK but makes its bags there too. Their recycled tarpaulin bags have a playful and bright aesthetic. They source discarded industrial fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfill and turn them into functional, stylish bags. The material is strong and waterproof, perfect for brightening up a rainy day.

19. Thamon

Based: Thailand  Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Thailand

Price: £45-95


Sustainability creds: sustainable materials, vegan, ethical manufacturing

Thamon’s stylish collection of contemporary bags are handmade from fallen leaves and vegan leather. The leaves are treated with an environmentally-friendly polymer to create a unique ‘leaf leather’ with limitless textures and pattern variations. Each one-of-a-kind bag is dyed by hand.

20. Ulsto

Based: Germany   Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Germany

Price: £50-£167

Range: Backpacks, clutches, cross body bags, shoulder bags

Sustainability creds: Natural and recycled materials, vegan, ethical manufacturing, sustainable packaging

German brand Ulsto makes minimalist-style vegan handbags made from natural cork and a felt made from recycled bottles. The two materials work beautifully together. The bags are locally made under fair conditions and the cords and zippers are also produced in Germany.

21. Belo

Based: UK     Ships to: Worldwide

Made in: Brazil

Price: £170-£250

Range: Backpacks, bucket bags, clutches, crossbody bags accessories

Sustainability creds: Recycled materials, ethical manufacturing, sustainable packaging, gives back

British-Brazilian accessories brand Belo considers each of their bags to be a piece of wearable art. Their creations are designed to make us stop and think about how we view waste and how our fashion is made. Stylish and durable, the bags are crafted from decommissioned seatbelts and lined with fabric created from recycled plastic bottles. The brand works with Brazilian artisans. They provide a higher than living wage and ongoing support for the community via their partner charity, Casa de Maria.

For more rucksacks, see our guide to eco-friendly backpacks.

Have you fallen in love yet? We hope you find the sustainable bag brand for you in this list!

And check out our guide to eco-friendly backpacks for more sustainable bag inspiration!


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