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Respecting Earth by Urth Means

For the past two years, founder Monica Ralli of UrthBags in California, developed strategies to inspire people. Her goal was to create a stronger sense of eco-consciousness on our overly-disposable planet.

Monica also planned how to stimulate the job market. She intended to provide work that would benefit local craftsmen and women’s organizations worldwide. Simultaneously, waste would be reduced significantly.

The handbag materials are milk cartons, juice boxes, telephone books, and newspapers. The craftspeople are artisans from across the globe. Designers are both staffed and sourced.

To seal the hip, whimsical, smart ‘n green image visioned, Monica adds salvaged items like seashells, fashion magazines and coconuts to her designs. Individuals can shop online and minimums are reasonable for small specialty boutiques.

The UrthBags collections suit any age. While the best sellers are the recycled magazine bags, the juice box bags and the sea shell purses, Monica’s favorite is the newspaper tote bag. Her favorite is large enough to fit a towel, iPod and a pair of shades. Perfect for the beach and affordably priced.

Monica intends to expand her collections and materials. Imagination keeps her juices going and of course it feels good to merge environmental preservation with style and fashion. From observing her “where to buy” list, she’s well on her way.

Photo Credits:
Photography by Mark Sacro, makeup by Christina Guerra, hair by Jeanne San Diego, and model is Bayley Schneider.

The Eco Message Is in the Bag, Part I
The Eco Message Is in the Bag, Part II

Written by Delia Montgomery

I am Delia, d/b/a Chic Eco on, and established myself as an eco fashion guru by learning "who makes what in the world of environmental fashion and design."

Enjoy reading some of my freelance writing about environmental design, fashion and art -- from both consumer and supplier perspectives. You may notice I focus most on individual eco designers, movers and shakers.

From sustainable fashion apparel to paint and flooring, discoveries are a rush. I get my kicks this way. I also offer sales representation of earth-friendly designed products for wholesale buyers. Retailers may take advantage of my services with factory-direct pricing. Spend less time sourcing and prevent green-washed purchases!

My other forte is connecting suppliers with business-to-business tools. Aspects of my business vary with consulting services while I'm proud to be the aide that embraces unique and innovative gigs.

I'm originally a Kentucky Blue Grass gal who relocated to Maui early 2006 and the tropical Puna District of Big Island, Hawaii late 2007. Walk the talk is my motto here.

Early 2009 I constructed a yurt home office in a semi-urban setting on a tiny lot. My water comes from the sky, contained in a catchment that's not likely to dry in this rain forest. The electric is designed for solar conversion. I grow about 30% of my food organically, compost, and recycle to the hilt. Permaculture with a full eco system is my gardening style.

In fact, gardening is my ultimate joy. I seek gigs like design, weeding and planting between other jobs. My love is Hawai'i which has more climate zones than any state. There are frequent earthquakes here, typically under a 3.0 magnitude, and I happen to dig the vibrations. It's a wonderful simple life in paradise. As I grow older and wiser, I become more and more grateful.

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