The Future of Backpacks Looks More Sustainable, REI Co-Op Journal, August 2019

Backpacks greenBackpacks may be late to the green party, but they’re finally trickling in—and their arrival promises good things for shoppers and the environment.

Chances are, you already own plenty of sustainably made clothing and electronics built with rechargeable batteries instead of landfill-polluting alkaline—but your backpack probably doesn’t deserve a merit badge for environmentalism.

It’s not your fault. Packs have tended to lag behind other gear categories, where the outdoor industry has embraced sustainability and shoppers now routinely find organic cotton, fabrics made from recycled materials, safer chemical processes and recycling programs that breathe new life into discards. Technical backpacks, meanwhile, have generally continued to rely on energy-intensive materials and manufacturing methods that pollute the environment.

Fortunately, the sustainability movement has been gaining traction among pack manufacturers, and more options are about to hit the market. 

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