Holiday shopping can be challenging, especially when seeking the perfect present for your favorite fashionista. We're here to help, with five foodie fashion finds. Best of all, these unique items are gifts for the planet, too, keeping beverage bottles, juice pouches and paper bags out of landfills or bringing clean water to people in need.
5. TerraCycle Capri Sun tote
TerraCycle's mission is to find ways to transform hard-to-recycle waste, including drink pouches, candy wrappers and cereal bags. A company spokesperson told us via email: "The Capri Sun Tote Bag is an example of an upcycled product, where the packaging is reused in close to its original form. Our founder and CEO, Tom Szaky, actually made the first tote bag prototype. When he realized the pouches could hold a stitch, he taught himself to sew and made one to present to our brand partner and convince them to launch the program with us."
If Doritos Cool Ranch is more your style, there's a tote made from that packaging, too, as well as one from Lay's Sour Cream and Onion potato chip bags. (All of the totes sell for around $9 to $12 on the TerraCycle shopping page.)
TerraCycle also turns juice pouches and food wrappers into plastic pellets, which are used to make numerous products, such as lunch boxes and playgrounds. The company sponsors collection drives, in which schools and other organizations earn points by sending in all kinds of materials that otherwise would end up in the trash.
4. Trader Joe's purse
We saw this on the arm of a very stylish woman -- nowhere near a Trader Joe's, we should point out -- and thought it looked pretty darn cool. Made from jute, it's an original purse choice for vegans who don't want to use leather goods. (OK, we admit that having a TJ's logo on the front isn't exactly like flaunting a Michael Kors label, but priced at only $3.99, it works for us.)
And while it won't hold a 20-pound turkey, you certainly can use this for smaller groceries. Come January, we're going to need to start shlepping all kinds of reusable totes to Los Angeles grocery stores, as the ban on plastic bags goes into effect and paper sacks will cost 10 cents.
3. Haiku bags
Haiku, a company in Berkeley, launched in 2004, after its creator, Sharon Eisenhauer, adopted a daughter from Japan. The designs take their cues from nature, with unusual patterns on purses, totes, gym and messenger bags. Everything is crafted from cyclePET fabric made from post-consumer recycled beverage bottles. According to the company website: "PET (PolyEthylene Terephthalate, #1 plastics) is the most popular packaging material for food and beverages because it is lightweight, transparent, and has highly efficient gas and moisture barrier properties. CyclePET is created by collecting clear PET bottles and containers, breaking them up into tiny chips and melting them down to be re-formed into new bottles, containers and, of course, fabric. Creating and using cyclePET fabric instead of fabric from virgin petroleum saves millions of plastic bottles from our landfills every year."
2. Patagonia fleece pullovers
Ventura-based Patagonia has been making fleece from post-consumer recycled soda bottles since 1993. "We were the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to do so," a spokesperson told us. The plastic bottles are collected at recycling centers; after the labels and caps are removed, a processor chops them up into small pieces, which get melted, filtered, extruded and cut into pellets. The pellets are turned into yarn, which is then knit, dyed and sewn into fleece clothing for men and women. Some 86 million soda bottles have been kept out of landfills thanks to Patagonia.
You can find environmentally friendly fleece clothing in Patagonia stores or online. Most of the pullovers sell for around $100.
1. Freewaters shoes
Every purchase of Freewaters shoes helps bring drinking water to different communities, such as the current project of digging wells in Kenya. The Laguna Hills company was founded by Eli Marmar and Martin Kim, who met in 1997 while students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Ten years later, they teamed up to create a shoe company with a global mission.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In an email, Marmar described the goal of Freewaters' shoes: "Each pair comes with a lifetime warranty and supports our global clean drinking water projects. Our approach is simple: 1% of gross sales go directly to fund our water projects. By harnessing the power of social entrepreneurship, each pair becomes a step toward clean water and a way to empower customers to make positive change."
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.