This Backpack Used To Be 40 Plastic Bottles

I firmly believe that our grandchildren will look back on the plastic bottle as one of our worst inventions.

The United States buys more of these single use containers than any other nation in the world, consuming 29 billion water bottles (that’s just water folks, not including soda, juice, etc…) every year. Even more devastating is that only a small percentage of these bottles are recycled. Most end up in landfills or the ocean, where they’ll take decades to degrade, leaching toxins into our soil and water.

Although they may seem like useless trash, these containers are actually full of potential. In addition to convincing people to drink tap water out of reusable containers instead of bottled water, we need creative ways to divert these bottles from the landfill right now.

GreenSmart is a company dedicated to doing just that. Using eco-friendly materials and socially responsible labor, GreenSmart produces some of the highest quality messenger bags, backpacks, laptop and MacBook sleeves, and wine carriers on the market. I recently had the pleasure of taking one of their laptop backpacks for a test drive, and have used it almost everyday since it arrived.

Normally I use a messenger bag to carry my laptop and other essentials when I’m commuting by bike or hiking around a big event like South by Southwest. The only problem is that after a few hours of riding or walking, the messenger bag starts to exert a lot of uneven drag on my shoulder.

This problem is solved by GreenSmart’s Mandrill Laptop Backpack. This backpack is incredibly lightweight to begin with, and features Airmesh padded back and shoulder straps that distribute the weight evenly between my shoulders. This makes a HUGE difference when I’m pedaling up hills!

All the while, my laptop is completely safe in the separate padded pocket (fits up to 16″ screens). The Mandrill also offers a convenient front stretch cord for holding a light jacket or sweatshirt, as well as a large mid-section pocket for your notebooks or book and a front pocket for the smaller stuff. It’s also got tiny pockets (perfect for phones or iPods) on both sides and in the strap.

And the best part? The fabric in this backpack, both the exterior and interior, are derived from 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles. Collected bottles are ground up, washed to become fiber, spun into yarn and woven into GreenSmart fabrics. The overall process also uses less energy than making polyester out of virgin chemicals. And each backpack has a badge on the front that indicates how many bottles were saved from the landfill. Mine says 40.

Learn about the entire family of GreenSmart products here.

Related Reading:
Which Plastics Are Safe?
How To Reuse Plastic Bottles
7 Good Reasons To Quit Drinking Bottled Water

Images copyright Beth Buczynski

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

love it!

Jacqueline Baruch

Recycling is a good thing. However, I did not know about the water problem with washing the bottles. Let's just stop having to buy water.

aj E.
aj E.3 years ago

Interesting. I once saw a park bench supposedly made of thousands of recycled plastic bags.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.3 years ago

great use for old plastic water bottles. i hate them...definitely one of our worst inventions...

Michael L.
Michael L.3 years ago

I being single have been recycling for decades, while the family next door a couple w/ three kids do not. Only approx. 5 % of the population recycles...

Losfeld A.
Angela L.3 years ago

I don't agree about discouraging people from drinking bottled spring water. Spring water contains a lot of useful nutrients and minerals and is just plain healthy. The plastic bottle is not si much the enemy for our planet. People need to be encouraged to recycle and recycling needs to be made easy and accessible for everyone. I totally agree with the comment below about the fact that these products made from recycled materials should be priced competitively.

Cynthia Jackson
Cynthia Jackson3 years ago

Instead of the washing and spinning, how about the plactic furniture and benches is that made the same way, or is the plastic just melted and pored into a mold.

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M.3 years ago

What an awesome way to recycle!

Jax L.
Jacqueline L.3 years ago


Jennifer P.
Jennifer P.3 years ago

I was rather fond of the carpet in my teacher's house - a beautiful blue, and also made from plastic bottles.