So, you’re looking for a new wallet? Well, it’s understandable that your search is eco-conscious, hat’s off to you! The best way to find a sustainable wallet is by looking at the materials it’s made of and where they are sourced from. It can be hard to know what brands are truly sustainable and environmentally conscious, but we’ve done some research!
When it comes to sustainable materials, traditionally tanned leather is for sure not an eco friendly option as there is a long list of chemicals used in the tanning process. So if you are set on a more sustainable leather, then buying from a company that uses discarded leather off-cuts or vegetable tanned leather is a good start.
Then, of course, there is vegan leather. But this isn’t exactly innocent either as most vegan leather-like fabrics are likely to contain plastic, another material that is causing havoc in our environment.
It appears that fabric wallets might be a better choice, but again that will depend on what fabric it is and where it comes from. So, really as far as sustainable wallets go, there will be a degree of compromise, unless you choose a product made from upcycled materials of course. Let’s take a look at the options.
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1. Elvis & Kresse
Elvis & Kresse is a Certified-B corporation and luxury accessory brand based in London. It’s no secret that we are big fans. Why, did you ask? Well not only do they make beautifully crafted and durable wallets and other accessories, but they also make their products using decommissioned fire hoses and dead stock leather off-cuts including a few other interesting materials. You’ll also find products and packaging made from parachute silk, printing blankets, auction banners, shoe boxes along with used coffee and tea sacks. Top marks for creativity right?
Over 800,000 tonnes of leather ends up on the cutting room floor annually, these little bits of hide will then end up in a landfill. But Elvis & Kresse rescues a lot of leather, hand weaving fragments into whole new hides. These are then made into sustainable bags and more recently furniture.
Elvis & Kresse is committed to paying a living wage and not just minimum wage, treating workers fairly.
The company is built on three pillars rescue, transform and donate. They live these values by rescuing used fire hoses and leather from landfills. These materials are then transformed into something beautiful and functional. And then they donate 50% of the profits from their decommissioned fire hose range to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Buy Elvis & Kresse
Everything Tentree does stems from doing better for the planet. Such as planting trees. But the journey doesn’t start and end there. They are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to make clothing with the smallest footprint possible. Right through their entire supply chain.
To give you a bit of an idea, they use on average 75% less water to make a sweatshirt than most other manufacturers. They’re committed to making earth-first choices, without compromise.
Products are made from four types of materials; Tencel – a fabric made from responsibly sourced wood pulp – recycled polyester, organic cotton and hemp.
Every item purchased plants 10 trees in a range of countries across the world.
Tentree is a Certified B Corporation, committed to people and the environment. They believe in treating workers fairly, paying a living wage and they make sure the working environment is safe and healthy.
If you’re looking for a very reasonably priced sustainable wallet, skipping the leather-like or leather materials then Tentree is a great choice. Safe, secure and stylish is the perfect complement to your busy lifestyle.
Buy from Tentree
Svala is handcrafted in LA from premium European sustainable fabrics. The inspiration for the brand comes from founder Helga Douglas’ Islandic and Australian heritage. Svala is an Islandic girl’s name which means swallow. And yes the swallow is the symbol of love, freedom, hope and loyalty amongst cultures across the world. That’s exactly what the brand stands for.
Combined with a love for animals, nature, the colourful feel of LA and Sydney – Helga’s hometown – and of course Scandanavian design gives the brand its bold and considered vibe. They are Peta Vegan approved.
Salva’s fabrics of choice are Pinatex, cork and Italian vegan leather. Pinatex is a by-product of the pineapple harvest which provides additional income streams to farmers, allowing them to fully utilize their crops. The fabric is made up of 80% pineapple leaf fibres and 20% PLA, a bioplastic typically made from corn, cassava and sugarcane. Pinatex is sourced from the Philippines and finished in Spain and no extra land, water, fertilisers or pesticides are required to produce the raw material.
When it comes to a sustainable wallet, Salva makes a beautiful range of textured and shimmery wallets with the feel of real leather. They also have a few cork made wallets, delivering a solid luxury wallet range. You’ll also find bags and accessories to match within their collection.
Buy from Salva
4. Hyer Goods
Hyer Goods is a bag and accessory company with an eco-friendly ethos. They make their products from natural materials that already exist, meaning they are better for the environment and also your wallet!
Founder Dana Cohen spent 10 years working in fast fashion and noticed how much waste the industry produces. Both during the production process and through unsold stock. That’s exactly why she started Hyer Goods.
All Hyer products are made from leather and fabric scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. Off-cuts or deadstock fabric is a big problem in the fashion industry.
Every 10 pounds of textile waste saved from landfills has the same Co2 reducing effect as planting a tree. So if you are looking for a more sustainable leather wallet then Hyer Goods could be just the thing.
Overall leather is a super durable, natural material and in essence a by-product of the meat industry, an industry that is not likely to disappear in the near future. By buying leather products made from off-cuts you are helping to reduce the impact of a very damaging industry that has traditionally been responsible for a lot of toxic waste, generated during the tanning process. Not to speak of the impact of mass animal farming.
The Hyer website also allows you to re-sell your previously purchased products. Giving you the opportunity to reduce impact even more.
Buy from Hyer Goods
5. Funky Kalakar
Funky Kalakar offers accessories, shoes and wallets with an eco-friendly focus.
Their values are built around circularity, veganism, transparency and empowerment. Impressively the soles of their shoes are made from discarded car tyres, a waste product that we all know can be very damaging to the environment. Bags are made from materials that can be recycled up to 8 times. And all their packaging is plastic-free and biodegradable.
Products are 100% handmade, Peta approved vegan and the designs are bold, delivering exactly what the name says. Funky statement pieces that can liven up any outfit.
Once you’re done with your Funky Kalakar product you can return it to the company for recycling and upcycling. This is then processed through their go zero partner and you’ll get a 15% discount coupon in return. It’s a win-win for your wallet and the planet, right?
Buy from Etsy
6. Watson Wolfe
Watson Wolfe was originally intended to be a genuine leather accessories brand. But founder Helen quickly discovered the shocking facts of the leather industry and the effects of 250+ chemicals used in the leather tanning process. These chemicals often end up in waterways, polluting local rivers and inevitably the ocean.
That’s when she decided to change direction and look for a more sustainable alternative to produce luxury accessories, that’s not only good and safe for people but also environmentally friendly.
The Watson Wolfe sustainable wallet collection is made in a small boutique factory, with a long history of producing products for a range of luxury brands. So you can be confident that the same traditional crafting techniques have gone into the production process. But products are also cruelty-free and sustainable.
As a company, they are continuously searching for innovation within the vegan leather industry and are always exploring new fabric options such as corn, mushroom, cactus and apple leather. Their linings are made from post-consumer recycled plastic that uses 94% less water, 32% less Co2 and 60% less energy during the production process.
Their designs have a classic luxury feel ensuring that products are timeless and can be used season after season.
Buy from Watson Wolfe or Wreath London
LUXTRA is a sustainable accessories brand and Certified B corporation started by serial ethical entrepreneur Jessica Kruger in 2018. You might know from her involvement in Ethos a meat-free restaurant in London. The company is on a mission to promote responsible production and consumption by creating sustainable products practical enough for everyday life.
Products are made from a variety of vegan leathers including pineapple, apple, mango, cactus and corn. Their linings are made from either deadstock fabrics or organic cotton blends which contain a small amount of acrylic to make the material more durable.
Given that wallets are not likely to end up in a washing machine, unless you forget to take it out of your pocket, of course, there is no need to worry about shedding microplastics. Just make sure that you dispose of your wallet in a responsible way when it comes to the end of its usable life because it does contain plastic.
Their design philosophy is to create high-quality timeless pieces that will last and stay relevant. You won’t see a ridiculous number of “seasons” that promote high stock turnover that some other luxury brands use. On the contrary, LUXTRA employs a slow fashion model and plan to grow organically without aggressive growth targets that can easily compromise the integrity of a brand.
Buy from Wearth London
8. Pure Cork Shop
Pure Cork Shop uses sustainable cork as their material of choice. The company is suitably based in Portugal. You may know that cork is one of Portugal’s most important exports.
So how is cork made? Cork is made from the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark protects the tree from natural enemies including fire. This raw material is of vegetable origin and is particularly lightweight. It’s also great for acoustic insulation and is impermeable to liquids. It’s also quite elastic, compressible and anti-static.
During harvesting, the bark of the cork tree is removed in successive periods every 9 years until the tree turns around 200 years old. It takes between 25 and 30 years before the bark is ready for harvesting. Amazingly the cork oak has the capacity to self-heal and it’s therefore not harmful to remove the bark.
As a material cork is super versatile and makes beautiful eco friendly wallets. We love the slightly whimsical feel of these wallets. They are super durable and will be a lush addition to your summer wardrobe.
Buy from Etsy
Flowfold wallets are beautifully made from recycled sailcloth. Launched in 2010 Flowfold makes everyday gear that is lighter, stronger and more durable. They started with one wallet, but the range has since grown to include bags, backpacks, totes, pouches and even dog gear. All products are responsibly manufactured in the USA
Working at a sail loft, founder Charles Friedman was introduced to sailcloth. He started experimenting with the material when his grandfather’s handmade wallet fell apart. He took some scraps of racing sailcloth from the factory wastebasket and sewed a nifty wallet. He quickly realised the potential of the material and turned his by-chance sewing project into a business.
Over the last year, they have also been involved in making PPE for the current health crises.
We love the grungy yet sporty feel of these wallets, it brings something unique and durable to the table. So if a vegan leather sustainable wallet is not your style then well, Flowfold might just be the one for you. We certainly are fans of their lightweight, versatile and durable products.
Closing Thoughts – Eco Friendly and Sustainable Wallets
So there you have it, 9 fantastic brands that make sustainable and eco friendly wallets. If you’re looking for a wallet to add some character to your outfit then look no further.
Whether you’re into classic style, fun and sporty or just practical and durable there is definitely a ethical wallet brand that will suit your pocket, drive for ethical fashion and your style. Less is always more of course so carefully considering a sustainable wallet that will last is a pucker idea!
And yes as mentioned sometimes choosing ethics is still a choice between the lesser of two evils. But materials like cork, upcycled plastic such as fire hoses or sailcloth and products made from off-cut leather is most certainly more sustainable than buying materials that are 100% virgin or new.
You also have the option to shop pre-loved, don’t forget about the Vestiaire Collective who sell pre-loved designer wallets that would otherwise have ended up on a landfill somewhere.
We’ll keep adding to our list of favourites so remember to check back periodically, but in the meantime… happy ethical shopping.