GLOBAL GIFTS: Leather Bags That Are Easy on the Earth

GLOBAL GIFTS: Leather Bags That Are Easy on the Earth

Looking for a wallet, purse, or messenger bag for the new season? Global Gifts stores offer an abundance of colors, sizes, and styles of bags and accessories that are handmade by fair trade artisans who live in developing countries all over the world.  

One benefit of selecting a leather bag or leather wallet is that you're getting a high quality item that will last a long time. Unfortunately, mainstream commercial tanning processes for leather goods are harmful to the environment.  One of the most popular ways to tan leather commercially is by using chromium salts. This produces an attractive color, but exposes workers as well as the soil and waterways to harmful toxins. Some of largest producers of leather are located in China, India, and Southeast Asia and these are also countries that tend to have poor (or unenforced) environmental and work safety regulations.

Eco-leather, made using a vegetable-tanning method, is a positive alternative. The tanning agents used in eco-leather products are plant-derived and come from tree bark, vegetables, and other natural sources. A soft brown leather results from this process that's easier on the Earth and on workers too. When an eco-leather bag or wallet is also fair trade certified, you can be assured that the tanning method meets strict environmental standards and that the artisans who created the item were safe and paid a living wage. Eco-leather is also biodegradable, so it won't pile up in a landfill once the item has been fully used and is discarded. 

The Opportunity Collection line, available at Global Gifts stores, uses eco-leather,  hand-loomed Ikat print, and cotton canvas and is from fair trade artisans in India. Best of all, you can feel great knowing your purchase is supporting safe working conditions, fair pay, and contributes to a healthier environment!

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