April 2006

Handbag designer uses recycled materials

Recycled bicycle inner tubes, advertising banners and seat belt straps are just a few of the materials finding their way into a King County company’s line of stylish handbags.

Seattle-based Alchemy Goods is the latest company to partner with LinkUp, a King County-created program designed to increase the use of recycled and reusable materials in consumer products throughout the Puget Sound region.

Eli Reich founded Alchemy Goods after his messenger bag was stolen. He created a replacement bag from recycled materials he found in his apartment. Reich’s goal was to build a bag that was totally waterproof, looked good and was environmentally friendly.

Alchemy Goods prides itself on “turning useless into useful,” and creating products that are environmentally friendly. Each bag is made from recycled materials gathered from local bike shops and junkyards. These items are inspected for quality and cleaned, then assembled by hand in Reich’s Fremont workshop. A number included with the logo on each bag represents the percentage of recycled materials, by weight, used to create the item.

LinkUp works with Alchemy Goods and other manufacturers in the Puget Sound area to help increase the use of recycled materials in the manufacturing process. Businesses in the LinkUp program use recycled materials in the products they make, or process certain types of recyclable materials for use by others.

Materials used in Alchemy Goods’ bags include bicycle inner tubes, seat belt straps and vinyl mesh once used in large advertising banners. Original details found on the materials, such as logos and patches, are left intact to give the bags their one-of-a-kind look. Alchemy Goods continues to seek ideas for new recycled materials that can be incorporated into their products.


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