Trash to treasure!

To me, one of the most exciting parts of the rapidly growing green movement is the surge in upcycled products that I’ve seen lately. For those of you not familiar with the term, upcycling is converting waste materials into new products of better quality. (This is the direct opposite of downcycling, or turning waste materials into new materials of lesser quality.)

I’ve written about this phenomenon before with the growing popularity of Banyan bags, fabulous bags made, literally, of paper! But my most recent find all came about because I broke my coffee pot. Confused? I’ll explain. My fabulous Brew and Wave coffee pot recent sprang a leak (comical at 5:00 am, I assure you). So, in desperation, I visited my favorite local coffee shop, Pike Creek Coffee and amidst the heavenly brews, I found fashion!

You see, Pike Creek Coffee now offers messenger bags and totes made from recycled burlap coffee sacks! No longer will burlap coffee sacks be sent to the landfill or left to languish in the corners of warehouses. And some of the graphics on these bags are absolutely gorgeous!

This idea was the brainchild of Carol Allston-Stiles, owner of Pike Creek Coffee. Carol has her coffee sacks transformed into practical and stylish bags by a network of small and independently-owned sewing groups coordinated by a coffee roaster out in Minnesota. Plus, the bags also utilize other recycled materials, including linings made from recycled cotton and plastic bottles, and webbing straps from the automotive industry.

One of the most appealing bags is the Santa Rita Coffee Tote (pictured). This tote measures 12″ high x 15″ wide x 4″ deep and is lined with a 10 oz. canvas made from recycled cotton and plastic bottles. It just shouts “coffee” to me — with the great illustration of the coffee plant laden with ripe coffee beans. The tote features an inside pocket and comfortable web cotton handles. Retail $15.95

I also like the modern, bold graphics of the ONA Coffee Tote. Like the Santa Rita, this tote also measures 12″ high x 15″ wide x 4″ deep, is lined with a 10 oz. canvas made from recycled cotton and plastic bottles, and features an inside pocket. The ONA (pictured) would be a wonderful bag for a fashion-savvy college student – simply toss in notebooks, cell phone and a water bottle and you’re ready for a day on campus! Retail $15.95

But my favorite is the Bird of Paradise Coffee Tote! The illustration is absolutely lovely, and reminds me of the sunny skies and blue waters of Hawaii. A perfect tote for the beach, the Bird of Paradise tote (pictured) measures 12″ high x 15″ wide x 4″ deep. It also is lined with a 10 oz. canvas made from recycled cotton and plastic bottles, has a convenient inside pocket and cotton web handles. Retail $15.95

Pike Creek Coffee offers a limited selection of bags online but maintains a large inventory of the bags at their coffee shop in Pike Creek, Delaware. For more information,  you can contact Pike Creek Coffee.

Oh, and don’t forget to try their amazing coffee blends. Yummy!

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and social activist. In addition to Susan Said What?! Susan also writes for Style on a WHIM, It’s how you play the game!, and Success Won’t Wait!

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