Summer is definitely over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Whatever that looks like for you, you most probably need a good backpack! Do you cycle every morning come rain or shine? Do you enjoy long hikes? Do you carry your computer everywhere with you? Read on for our selection of sustainable backpacks available in COSH!-member stores.
Made in Europe
Buying “Made in Europe” ensures shorter supply chains and less carbon emissions. It also means manufacturers should be complying with EU law with regards to chemical usage etc.
Looking for a unique, sustainable backpack? Look no further than Antwerp-based Lapland textiel. Designer Annelies Van Valckenborgh uses second-hand textiles from the thrift store to make her accessories. The textiles she finds provide the inspiration meaning they’re all 100% unique and special. Pretty cool if you ask us! Her designs are super clean-cut and minimalist and you would never guess that the fabrics have been recovered from a pair of old trousers or a jacket. Find the brand at
HOST in Berchem.
Are you looking for a unique bag that is completely handmade in the Netherlands? Then you're at the right place at Monsak. Founder Margriet is happy to help you create the backpack of your dreams, which perfectly reflects your needs and wishes. All backpacks at Monsak are made of saved leather that has been disapproved of due to colour differences, damage or test skins. Thanks to Monsak, these materials get a new, sustainable purpose. Would you like to have a personalised bag made for you? Read more about Monsak's working methods here and make an appointment to visit the atelier in Amsterdam or for a facetime chat.
Reduce waste, buy recycled
The fashion industry is responsible for a huge amount of waste every year. Fight the waste by buying a rucksack made from recycled materials.
Ever wondered what happens to old truck tarpaulins? Well, mystery solved! Freitag takes them and transforms them into amazing bags of all shapes and sizes. The tarpaulins are combined with recycled plastic bottles to create a yarn that is water-resistant, durable and relatively soft. These bags are truly unique and sustainable down to the way they’re dyed. Freitag use the spinneret technique that consumes less water, chemicals and energy than traditional dyeing techniques. Freitag are so committed to circular close-loop models that in 2016 they opted to abandon the classic hierarchical structure within their business in favour of holacracy, or self-management. Get your special Freitag bag from Freedom in Aalst or Dendermonde.
Be the fibre, an initiative of World Missionary Aid, makes cool accessories from used, collected clothes. The fibres of the clothing and the production of the bags are done in Morocco as much as possible and the profits support development projects. Are you looking for a sports backpack to go to yoga class with, a laptop bag or a handy backpack to carry all your stuff? Then take a look at the collection of be the fibre, available at Allossa in Izegem, Circuit in Antwerp and the World Missionary Aid shop in Boechout.
IWAS is the place to be if you're looking for a sustainable travel backpack for adventurous trips. The Army backpack is made of upcycled rubber tyres and old army tents. IWAS produces their products under ethical working conditions in India and Indonesia and has a close relationship with their producers. Would you like to score this handy, upcycled bag from IWAS? Check out the IWAS points of sale below.
Are you looking for a minimalist, waterproof backpack made from recycled PET bottles? Then this backpack from Superstainable is a perfect option for you! This black backpack is made of 100% recycled post-consumer waste and is GRS certified (Global Recycling Standard). This certificate guarantees that the item has been made according to the best, sustainable recycling solutions. The bag is sturdy and can withstand different weather conditions. Discover the products of Superstainable at MOOSE in the CITY in Antwerp.Read more about Superstainable
No animals were harmed in the making of this bag
Make your go-to-backpack a cruelty-free one! Whether it’s for ethical or environmental reasons, check out the brands below for some cool vegan bags that don’t compromise on style.
Searching high and low for that perfect vegan backpack? Matt & Nat is the answer!
These cruelty-free bags are made from vegan leather and since 2007, their nylon linings are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. This year, they have an exciting new collection… Purity! The Purity collection is their first range of bags (including a couple of backpacks) to use a recycled outer fabric. They’re using an innovative material made from recycled resin from old windscreens! Shop your Matt & Nat 100% recycled rucksack at Harvest Club in Leuven.
Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven started making their famous backpacks in the 1970s to tackle back issues in Swedish schoolchildren. These bags have quickly become ubiquitous in the world and for good reason! The simple design is functional, timeless and available in a rainbow of colours and sizes to suit all tastes. Although Fjällräven have always made efforts to use only 2 materials so the bags are easy to recycle, they now have a range called ‘Rekanken’ which is made from 100% recycled material. 11 plastic bottles go into one Rekanken! The Rekanken bags along with their classic Kanken range are vegan you’ll be happy to hear. Please note however that some special edition bags do have leather features. Get your very own Fjällräven at Harvest Club or Moose in the City.
The clothing and textile industry has a history of poor human rights throughout supply chains, but these brands are changing the status quo and supporting fair and safe working conditions for all their workers.
Mr. Fox's bags are the result of excellent leather craftsmanship. The designs are timeless and are a perfect alternative to fast fashion. All pieces are handmade in Mexico under good working conditions. Discover Mr. Fox and other ethical backpack brands at The Canvas By Querencia.
Need to carry your laptop everywhere but not ready to compromise on style? Swedish brand Sandqvist’s range of sustainable backpacks are high on our list this season. Not only do they look cool but they’re also perfect to safely carry all of your belongings with a laptop compartment and big pockets. Their canvas bags are made from 100% organic cotton. Their other range of waterproof bags are made from 40% recycled polyester. We appreciate how transparent they are (you can find a list of every single factory involved in their supply chain on their website) and applaud their commitment to fair working conditions showcased by their membership of the Fair Wear Foundation and external audits they regularly commission. Do a good thing for the planet and shop your new Sandqvist bag at Supergoods.
The German clothing brand Melawear makes backpacks from 100% GOTS and Fairtrade certified cotton. Since the bags are made of just one type of material, they are easily recyclable. Furthermore, the brand guarantees fair working conditions in India and Sri Lanka and ensures that everyone in the supply chain receives a fair wage. Would you like to get your hands on a Melawear backpack? Then go to Anders Getint in Leuven.
Rain on me…. but not on my things!
In a rainy climate like ours, it’s pretty important to have a bag you can trust to keep the water out.
Looking for a backpack to join you on your early morning cycles to work but also on your week-end hikes? Patagonia could make your dreams come true. Patagonia is renowned for making sustainable high-quality products and their Black Hole bags are no exception. These bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester are waterproof and durable. Their ergonomic and highly functional design will take you everywhere you need to go. Get yourself one of these amazing bags at Moose in the City in Antwerp.
You may already have a waterproof jacket from Rains but did you know they also have an amazing collection of backpacks? Rains is everywhere right now and for good reason...it looks good and it’s functional! Made from polyester, the Rains team are more than aware this isn’t the most sustainable material and have pledged by 2021 to only use recycled polyester. They have also chosen to use a waterproof PU-coating instead of other alternatives that use more chemicals shown to be damaging to the environment. Their pledge to the environment also underlies their choice to make classic-looking products that will never go out of style. Get your Rains bag at Moose in the City in Antwerp.
The Ucon acrobatics waterproof backpacks are all made of recycled PET fabric. All materials used by the brand are vegan (the brand is an official partner of PETA) and are free of harmful dyes or heavy metals. The products are designed in Berlin and are minimalist, innovative and functional. Discover the timeless backpacks at Fonetik and Freedom in Aalst, and at Fresh in Bruges.
Saw something you liked? Head to our shopping guide to find all the sustainable goods you need.Go to our shopping guide