It began with a family trip to Mexico in 2004. Strolling through a street market in Mexico City, we were exposed to some fascinating handbags crafted by Mexican artisans using post-consumer waste, such as candy wrappers and chip bags. Inspired by this concept, we flew back to our Miami-based home and decided to develop a business making products from waste.
Since then, we’ve partnered with multinational brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, Disney, Frito-Lay, Mars, Cliff Bar, and Aveda, to repurpose all their post-industrial waste. Instead of having their misprinted and obsolete packaging end up in landfills, we reuse them to make our handbags. So far, Ecoist has saved more than 40 million wrappers from landfills.
Today, Ecoist collaborates with fashion and industrial designers to develop limited edition handbags and other fashion accessories by using waste as raw materials. Ecoist handbags are 100% handmade from recycled candy wrappers, food packages, soda labels, subway maps, newspapers, and other waste-bound materials.
Ecoist’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond recycling waste-bound materials. We practice fair trade. In 2009, Ecoist founded EcoDiseño in Ancon, Peru, employing workers and artisans in an impoverished community. We care for each and every one of the artisans. They are the ones that put their skills and love into making the products. We pay fair and meaningful wages, not the minimum wages that dominate the industry. Ecoist is a family-owned business, so we see the value inherent in investing in the lives of our workers, their families, and their communities. So far, Ecoist has improved the lives of almost 40 women artisans.
Ecoist plants a tree for every handbag sold. In partnership with Trees for the Future, Ecoist has contributed to reforestation efforts around the world. So far, we’ve planted over 100,000 trees in places like Haiti, India, and Uganda.
By definition, an Ecoist is “an individual that lives a modern, eco-minded lifestyle.” We hope to inspire people to become “Ecoists” so we can all live in a healthier, better, and more peaceful planet. We hope to make a difference.