Choosing the vegan lifestyle is certainly a noble quest, but did you know that choosing vegan materials can often mean throwing eco-friendly values out of the window?

Polyester and PU (fake) leather are the 2 synthetic materials that most vegan items are made from, both of which are created from fossil fuels. The production process isn’t toxic free either!

So, while the industry slowly works on making these materials more eco-friendly to produce, we have taken up the difficult task of finding ethical, recycled backpacks that not only respect the environment but also the animals we share this planet with.

It was hard work, but here we have it. A list of the best ethical backpacks available in the UK for every occasion.

Spill-Proof and Colourful - The Perfect Vegan School Backpack!

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While we love shopping the super sleek MATT and NAT UK backpacks, they aren’t cheap! So, our affordable alternative is the Johnny Urban “Mia” backpack which is made from recycled plastic with vegan leather straps. Plus, it has a 13″ laptop pocket to keep your laptop safe from scratches.

We love it because: the outside fabric is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and its waterproof coating is free of any harmful chemicals.

The Beautiful Product of Swedish Backpack Recycling

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The Fjallraven Re-Kanken backpack is our top choice eco-friendly backpack for teenagers. Not only is there a whole rainbow of colours to pick from, but there’s also a perfect pencil case compartment and plenty of space for heavy textbooks – all wrapped up in vegan polyester made from recycled water bottles.

We love it because: the Kanken backpack is an iconic backpack around the world, that looks great on both children and adults. An ethical version of that fashionable backpack is a welcomed addition! Great functionality, amazing design and eco-friendly materials. What else do you need? 

Professional Yet Vegan Backpack for Work

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An eco-friendly backpack that is perfect for work. Vegan grey polyester and recycled water bottle fabric make this spacious Pika backpack from Ecogear. 15″ laptop compartment included!

We love it because: its size, look, various pockets and water resistant coating make it a great vegan multipurpose backpack. Be it for school, work or travel.  

The Eco Backpack Ready for Any Unexpected Adventure

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These bags made from recycled materials are incredibly sturdy and as light as, well, recycled plastic bottles! The ChicoBag Travel Pack is our top pick for an adventure backpack. Perfect for hiking, walking, camping and cycling, when you need lightweight, waterproof and sturdy.

We love it because: In addition of being an ethical backpack, it’s also a lightweight pouchable backpack that stuffs into an included small zipper pocket. Our best daypack for travel, that will easily fit in your main backpack or suitcase. 

For Our Younger Vegan Audience…

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This yabba dabba doo half organic backpack by DOGO is perfect for vegan-conscious kids and their parents. Vegan synthetic materials are dyed with organic pigments and turned into handmade eco-friendly backpacks for kids!

We love it because: kids are the future of this planet and it’s important to teach them ethical, cruelty free values. This backpack is a perfect vegan companion for them to carry around daily. 

Forget Faux Leather Backpacks for a Minute, Check out Cruelty-Free Cork

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It’s not as soft as a recycled canvas backpack, but it is easily the most durable backpack on this list and it’s still entirely eco and vegan. All of Corkor’s PETA approved cork backpacks are handcrafted by in Portugal by skilled artisans!

We love it because: we simply love cork. This material is vegan AND eco-friendly, but it’s also durable AND fashionable. This backpack looks elegant and it is certainly unique. You won’t see it on the back of your neighbors. 

100% Vegan Hemp Backpacks, Handmade in Nepal

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A completely organic backpack from RebornRewild made with Himalayan hemp, one of the best eco-materials. Growing hemp takes more CO2 from the air than plants like cotton, and of course, it’s completely biodegradable. This cute jade hemp backpack has just enough space for your day-trip essentials and is way more affordable than those hemp Sativa backpacks!

We love it because: aside of hemp being our favourite sustainable fabric, we love brands supporting local communities. And for every bag RebornRewild sells, they support local hand-crafters in a small village in Nepal. 

Chic Fashion Vegan Leather Backpack for Her

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A better backpack for the fashion-conscious woman. In a deep aubergine colour, this vegan leather backpack from Sugulovas is ideal for matching with your winter wardrobe or brightening up with accessories for the summer.

We love it because: if you want that faux-leather look, you can count on Sugulovas to handcraft high quality and durable vegan backpacks. They look great and are perfect for daily use. (Many colours and combinations available)

Upcycled Backpack, or a Chance to Go Fancy Dress to School?

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Sure, it’s meant for kids but you can’t deny you want to rock this upcycled jeans backpack from SecondBirthday the next time you head into town. Both the bag and straps are made with upcycled denim, with soft cotton lining and an inner pocket compartment.

We love it because: it’s a unique piece of vegan fashion. By buying this handmade upcycled backpack, you will make sur no other kid (or adult) has the same. 

But before you start packing your bags, whether it’s another shopping trip or month-long holiday adventure, check out our guide to sustainable travel for more ways to stay eco-conscious on the go.

All products ship to the UK, most of them for free!