Discarded Umbrellas Reborn

Cheap plastic umbrellas are all too easily used and thrown away in Japan. And since they're difficult to break down, recycling efforts have stalled. But young creator Saito Aki has an original idea that may be the solution. By compressing layers of plastic from old umbrellas she's created a beautiful new fabric and turned it into a hit line of fashionable handbags. Just to look, you'd never guess where it came from. The perfect blend of style and environmental-awareness-raising substance.

Saito Aki gathering discarded plastic umbrellas
Umbrella plastic is folded and pressed to make handbag material
The material is sewn to make a finished handbag