Bags with a Conscience

Chandrama We sure do love our tote bags around here. Target, denim and sail cloth; yup, we are definitely in love. So, to add to our never ending list, I submit to you – Conserve.

Just like Be Sweet, Conserve is a company with a conscience. Based in Dehli, India, Conserve employs rag pickers in the slums of the city to collect an abundant resource; discarded plastic bags (the bags are so prevalent that they clog water drains and cows will try and eat them.) The bags are then washed and prepared and made into beautiful fashion bags. The process they use to make the bags produces no extra pollution and uses less energy than conventional recycling methods.

Getting the plastic off the streets and made into bags is a win-win for Conserve. They offer income to an otherwise disenfranchised people and help clean up the streets. They use no dye in their bag making process, relying on the variety of colors and color combinations that is found on the streets instead.

Because many of the people employed by Conserve don’t have common words for different colors, Conserve named their color combinations after Indian movie stars, songs and movies. Chand (pictured above) is a cute stripped hand bag that comes in large or small in colors named: Mall and Swiss Alps.

To learn more about Conserve and the good work that they do you can read about them at Forbes and on BBC.

Images credit: Conserve.

Written by Kelly Rand

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting.

Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.

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