Laptop Bags From the Scrap Heap

After hurting the environment by drinking coffee from plastic cups for many years, buying an eco-friendly laptop bag seems like a path to redemption. While searching, I came across bags made from coconuts, recycled movie posters, recycled Coke bottles and wine corks. There are even stylish bags made of recycled newsprint, where people may get to read this article again.

Bag made of coke bottles

Plastic bottles to laptops bags, that's the story of Act2 GreenSmart bags. Act2 includes recycled plastic-bottle material in its laptop bags and lists the number of bottles used in each bag on its Web site. For example, a bag for laptops with 12.1-inch screens uses 11 16-ounce bottles, and 17 recycled bottles are used in bags for 17-inch widescreen laptops. The US$39.99 bags are made of 100 percent recycled material, according to the company. The interior of the bag is built to protect the laptop and the exterior has a pocket to store supplies and cables.

"In the United States alone, 230 bottles per person go to landfill per year. That's enough crushed bottles to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium in California every two weeks," the company says on the Web site. The company also makes laptop sleeves for $24.99.

Superhero bag

Save Superman from a landfill -- check out Modulab's Movie Billboard Laptop Messenger Bag, which is made of recycled vinyl movie posters. They may look colorful on the outside, but these bags are waterproof and include a padded compartment to protect the laptop. At $118, these pop-culture bags are available on Re-modern's Web site.

Archetype of a bag

The aesthetically pleasing Archetype bag from Tom Bihn is made of molded cork -- yes, the same cork used on wine bottles. Cork is sustainable and biodegradable, and provides great protection for the laptop, the company claims. While not completely waterproof, the material can resist a fair amount of water and bear the elements, giving laptops a high level of protection. The $95 laptop bags are designed for MacBooks with different screen sizes and are available on Tom Bihn's Web site.

Sleeve me alone

Coconut and jute are the ingredients of Simple Shoes' Sleeve Me Alone laptop sleeve, which comes in two sizes for large and small laptops. Jute, a biodegradable fiber, forms the external part of the sleeve and is mixed with felt to protect laptops from the cold and heat. The material won't save laptops from massive falls -- that's why it's a sleeve -- so don't think of it as a bag. The button is made from a coconut. The sleeve is $30 and is available in four colors on Simple Shoes' Web site.

Really going green

To "distinguish green from granola" and to make functional eco-friendly products is the goal of Helen Riegle, the principal of Her Designs. Her boutique's Leaf laptop bags are made of recyclables such as plastic and come in two colors -- green and brown -- that make the bags resemble leaves. The bags accommodates 15-inch and 17-inch laptops, with pockets for files and cables.

The attractive bag is priced at $270. It is available on the company's Web site.

The good ole reliable bag

If chic is not your thing, try Targus' $60 Grove Sling laptop bag. The bag is made of recycled plastics and constructed of nylon to protect 15.4-inch laptops from falls. It is also made of nickel-free metal to "reduce the amount of toxins released into the environment," according to the company. Sporting a messenger design, the bag's sling has a pocket to store an MP3 player. The $60 olive-green bag is available on Targus' Web site.

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