The most sustainable backpacks for toddlers, preschoolers, grade schoolers, teens, and adults!

Non-Toxic & Eco-Friendly Backpacks

Roundups

Updated for Fall 2021!

As soon as August rolls around, all we can think of backpacks! A new backpack is often the most exciting thing on the back to school shopping list, especially if the one from last year is torn to shreds or not big enough anymore. Many backpacks are made from harmful plastics like PVC, which contains phthalates, and many times they are treated with a PFAS (Teflon-like) finish. This is why we searched high and low for backpacks that are not only cute and functional, but are also good for the environment. Our backpack recommendations are all phthalate, PVC, and lead free. We also looked for backpacks that are made from recycled water bottles, GOTS certified organic cotton, or that feature a PFAS-free water repellent. We found backs in sizes that will work for toddler, kids, teenagers and adults. Many of these backpacks have different sizing options and all of them come in assorted colors and prints so there really is a backpack for everyone!

We list the dimensions or size in liters of each backpack below. As a reference, toddlers usually need a backpack of about 6 liters, preschoolers from 6-12 liters, elementary school kids from 12-18 liters, and teenagers/adults from 18 liters and above.

a) Apple Park Backpack- Toddler 10.75" x 12" x 5.5", Big Kid 14.5" x 12" x 7"

These cute backpacks are made from 100% recycled materials. Each animal backpack saves 27 plastic bottles from landfills. Also comes in an owl and fox styles, and big kid and toddler sizes.

b) Deuter Kikki Kid's Backpack- 8 liters

This is a really fun little kid backpack. It comes in three different colors and has a chest strap to help your little one carry their load. This backpack is PFAS free and manufactured according to the Blusign (R) standard, which ensures environmental health and safety in the manufacturing of textiles.

c) So Young Toddler Backpack (9.5"L X 5"W X 13"H) and Grade School Backpack (11"L X 5.5"W x 15.5"H)

So Young backpacks come in toddler and grade school sizes and all sorts of unique modern prints. They are constructed of linen and cotton and are free from harmful chemicals.

d) Terra Thread Organic Backpack (16"H x 12"W x 5"D) and Mini Backpack (13"H x 10.5"W x 4"D)

Terra Thread backpacks are made with a durable, thick GOTS certified organic cotton canvas. They are also carbon neutral, because the company purchases carbon offsets. Plus the backpacks are made in a Fair Trade certified factory and the company is a Certified B Corporation! Terra Thread backpacks comes in a mini and a standard size, so it works for kids (and adults!) of all sizes.

e) Fjallraven Re-Kanken (16L) and Re-Kanken Mini (7L)

A special edition of the trendy Kanken backpack from Fjallraven that is made entirely from polyester recycled from plastic bottles. The dye technology also reduces the amount of water, energy, and chemicals used. It comes in a mini and standard size in lots of bright color choices, so there is something for everyone. Fjallraven takes sustainability seriously and has an impressive Code of Conduct. They were also one of the first adopters of going PFAS free.

f) North Face Youth Recon Squash Backpack (17L) and the North Face Sprout Backpack (10L)

North Face has two excellent and well built kids backpacks that are made from 50% recycled polyester. The fabric is water repellent with a non-PFAS durable water repellent. With all the right pockets and comfortable supportive straps, including a chest clip, this backpack will last for many years.

g) LEGO Brick Backpack (18 L)

The perfect backpack for the Lego obsessed. There are two zippered front pockets, and the adjustable shoulder straps and sternum strap all help to make this backpack comfortable. It's also exciting that the fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles, which reduces energy use, water use, and air pollution

h) State Kane Kids Recycled Poly Canvas Backpack Original (14.95" H x 11.22" W x 4.72" D), Mini (12.60" H x 9.45" W x 3.54" D) and Large (17" H x 13" W x 7.5" D)

This backpack is thoughtfully designed and made from 90% recycled polyester. The main compartment has organizational zip pockets and the outside has two side water bottle pockets. The recycled fabric version also comes in several other prints and a mini version for the younger kids! There's even a large size for teenagers. State bags also gives to families in need for every backpack that is purchased.

i) Everlane Renew Backpack (18L or 27L)

This backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester and features a PFAS free water resistant finish. The dyes are also Bluesign (R) approved, which are safer for workers and for the environment. These backpacks feature a zippered laptop pocket and other slip and zippered pockets for organization. It's a comfy and classy backpack that is perfect for class, work, or travel.

j) Fluf B Pack (22L)

These Fluf backpacks are made from GOTS certified organic cotton with 100% recycled polyester felt padding. There is a sleeve for a laptop and a zipper front pouch. For every backpack sold, Fluf donates to support sending a girl to school in a developing country through Plan International.

k) Vera Bradley Reactive Grand Backpack (25 L)

A favorite brand of tweens and teenagers, Vera Bradley now makes backpacks from recycled plastic bottles. This backpack comes in a couple of trendy prints and colors and can hold all the school books kids will need.

l) Jansport Recycled SuperBreak Backpack (26 L)

A classic backpack, but now made with 100% recycled materials. Each backpack is made from the equivalent of 20 plastic bottles! This is a quality lightweight backpack that is great for school and more.


*Because Health is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program so that when you click through our Amazon links, a percentage of the proceeds from your purchases will go to Because Health. We encourage you to shop locally, but if you do buy online buying through our links will help us continue the critical environmental health education work we do. Our participation does not influence our product recommendations. To read more about how we recommend products, go to our methodology page.

Food

Non-Toxic and Sustainable 2020 Gift Guide for the Home Chef

Eco-friendly and non-toxic ideas for anyone who loves to cook

The holidays are right around the corner, which means we're on the hunt for cool and unique gifts! That's why we've put together gift guides for everyone on your list. Looking for non-toxic, sustainable, and fun gifts for your home chef? Look no further!



Non-Toxic and Sustainable Gifts for the Home Chef

$: Under $50

Reusable Straws

Reusable stainless steel straws are a welcome addition to any kitchen. They reduce plastic waste and are easy to clean! A great stocking stuffer for anyone on your list.

Stasher Silicone Reusable Bag

Holiday leftovers have met their match with Stasher silicone reusable bags! These plastic-free bags are reusable and have an air-tight seal that will keep food fresh.

Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wrap

Half an avocado? Leftover sandwich? Keep food fresh with Bee's Wrap Reusable Food Wrap. These wraps are easy to clean, non toxic, and are reusable for up to a year. See you later plastic wrap!

Bread Knife

Any home baker who has mastered the sourdough boule or banana bread this year needs this knife! This beautifully crafted Tojiro Bread Slicer is made from stainless steel and will cut with ease. No smushed breads again.

Twisted Wood Salad Servers

These twisted olive wood salad servers from the Little Market are perfect for anyone who loves salads! These servers are hand carved in Kenya and feature a unique, twisted handle. We love shopping on The Little Market, nonprofit fair trade shop featuring ethically sourced, artisan-made products.

Coyuchi x White Buffalo Land Trust Bandana Napkins

Not only are cloth napkins better for the environment than paper towels, but the proceeds from these Coyuchi napkins go to a good cause! The proceeds from these GOTS certified organic + Fair Trade Certified napkins go to support the CampaignForJalama.org and the 1000 acre center for regenerative agriculture. This is a no brainer for any modern dining table and for the environment.

Equal Parts Whole-cut Oak Cutting Board

This Whole-cut Oak Cutting Board from Equal parts is sturdy and naturally antimicrobial, with no glues or fillers. A flat side for chopping and a grooved side for collecting juices adds to the versatility of this board!

Eastfolk Pottery Mug

Elevate morning coffee time with this Pottery Mug by Eastfolk. This mug comes in a beautiful array of glazes (lead-free of course!). Bonus: it's made by hand in Ashville, North Carolina and is dishwasher safe!

$ $: Between $50-100

DeBuyer Mineral Carbon Steel Pan

Say goodbye to Teflon! This De Buyer Carbon Steel Fry Pan is made from 99% pure iron and becomes non-stick after seasoning. The smooth bottom is perfect for frying up eggs and even more delicate items like fish. This is a must have for any non-toxic kitchen.

Bean Box Coffees of the World Sampler

This Bean Box Coffees of the World Sampler box is the perfect gift for any coffee lover. They will enjoy comparing the notes and flavor profiles of 16 unique coffee samples. We love that Bean Box works with roasters that have long-term, direct trading partnerships with the actual farms from whom they source coffee.

Farmhouse Pottery Classic Pie Dish

Bakers rejoice! This Ceramic Pie Dish by Farmhouse Pottery is handmade in Vermont. A white glaze (lead-free!) and scallop edges give this dish a classic finish. Dessert just tastes better when baked in nice dishware, right?

$ $ $: Over $100

Pique Tea Ultimate Immune Support Tea Crystals

Pique Tea Crystals easily dissolve in both hot and cold water, making it easy to enjoy tea wherever you are! And since they're USDA organic and made without preservatives, sugar and artificial sweeteners, you can feel good about having a cup (or two... or three...) Pique even tests for heavy metals like lead, pesticides, and mold. Gift a healthy habit!

SodaStream Aqua Fizz Sparkling Water Maker

La Croix who? This SodaSteam Aqua Fizz Sparkling Water Maker turns tap water into a bubbly beverage in seconds! We love this version with glass carafes. Add some homemade syrup or bitters for the ultimate mid-day treat.

Sarah Kersten 2 Quart Fermentation Jar

The 2 Quart Fermentation Jar by Sarah Kersten is the perfect gift for someone trying a new hobby! This compact jar helps make the most amazing sauerkraut, kimchi, or any fermented vegetables, which are super good for gut health. Plus it is beautiful enough to sit on the shelf all the time.

Misen Stainless Steel Starter Cookware Set

Good pans are a must in the kitchen. That's where the Misen Stainless Steel Starter Cookware Set comes in! A stainless steel skillet, sauté, and saucier will help cook dishes to perfection without the need for a non-stick (Teflon-like) coating. These pans will last a lifetime and are worth the investment.

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