A great backpack can help you carry all your essentials, and the best eco-friendly backpacks are made from materials that are sustainably sourced and durable enough to last. “Eco-friendly” is a broad term that’s used to describe something that is not harmful to the environment. Companies that attempt to reduce environmental harm may have garnered B Corporation (B Corp) certification — which means they maintain high standards of environmental performance — or may be members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry alliance that aims to minimize harm to the environment. But non-certified companies can still create backpacks with more environmentally friendly materials and may have sustainability-focused programs in place. In these cases, the brand will indicate if a product is made from recycled or organic materials, or if it participates in programs like bag recycling.
Eco-friendly bags are often made from recycled materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Many options have shells made of recycled synthetic materials, such as nylon, polyester, and fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. Another popular material is organic cotton, which offers the durability of conventional cotton without the use of synthetic pesticides or harmful fertilizers and uses significantly less water in the production process.
As with any backpack, look for a design that meets your needs. An everyday commuter or school backpack should have different compartments to keep your items organized, including a protective laptop compartment. A hiking or travel pack should be able to carry upwards of 20 liters and feature weight-distributing straps. And if you’re on a budget, you can find a basic backpack under $50.
Read on for five eco-friendly backpacks in a variety of styles and sizes.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.