Do you love the look and feel of your leather products but want a more ethical alternative? Maybe it’s time to swap them for washable paper products.
These cellulose-based accessories are the perfect blend of sustainable and stylish. If you were paying attention in biology, you may remember that cellulose is the primary structural compound of the plant cell wall. The fibers of this complex sugar molecule, referred to scientifically as a polysaccharide, can be manufactured to mimic leather. These virgin fibers are sourced from cultivation, instead of deforestation, then stretched, tanned and rolled into place using special rocks. The material is also softened using vegan fats and sewn into various accessories. The result? Beautiful, sustainable and cruelty-free bags that are light as paper but as durable as leather.
For the Italian brand Uashmama, washable paper is the product that brought the small village of Montecatini out of near poverty. Started by the family-run company Le Sorelle, meaning “The Sisters,” Uash is a homonym for wash, while mama is a tribute to their mother. Today, these sophisticated bags have traveled across the pond to the United States and even as far as Australia. To remain authentic, a large group of locals in Montecatini are employed by Uashmama to sew the bags in their homes and ensure that the community thrives.
Besides replacing conventional leather, these products are considered sustainable for other reasons. They can help reduce the use of traditional paper products such as lunch bags, which are typically discarded after a single use. Since they can be washed and restored to their original condition, they’re perfect for carrying make-up and other messy items. An added bonus is that cellulose fibers are biodegradable as well as recyclable. To keep the bags looking fresh, Uashmama products can be machine- or hand-washed using a mild detergent and ironed back into shape if needed.
If you’re crafty and love the thought of using washable paper, you’ll be happy to know that you can purchase paper fabric online and fuel your own creativity. People love using washable paper as a stylish home for potted indoor plants. In the kitchen they can be used as fruit bowls or bread baskets. The brand Paplebag even has a soft cover changing pad made of washable paper. If you want to reduce the amount of waste your household disposes of, maybe washable paper could be the trend for you.
Written by guest blogger Elvira Gothlin
Hi, is amazon the only place you can buy it? I do not shop there for their bad company practices. Disappointed this is in the article.
You know, I’m feeling a lot of pain over shopping on Amazon too. UGH.
Oh wow! I would love to use this products!
Awesome info. Never heard of it but excited to see good in Canada
WHAT?! This sounds like crazy talk! ha! I’m definitely going to investigate! 😀 Thanks!
Wow! Washable paper! Yes, I would use & encourage others to do so as well
These washable paper products are amazing! I love the Norwex mission and how you are always looking for innovative ways to reduce waste. Even if it means finding other companies and highlighting their work and products. My heart soars at the tremendous impact we make as Norwex consultants when we share this incredible business opportunity and products with our friends, family, community, and the world! ♥
I hadn’t heard of washable paper bags before. I like the look as well as the concept. Thank you for sharing! And I’ll plan on using the Norwex detergent to wash mine.
I had not heard of washable paper. It sounds a lot like vegan leather. Are they the same?
Vegan leather often uses chemicals. This is made from a plant-based fiber, so it’s actually better (in terms of environmental impact), than vegan leather.
Never herd of it would love to purchase it and support
So cool! I will definitely check this out!
Sounds awesome! this concept & would definitely give it a go!!!
This is a beautiful, well-written article. The photos and layout are so welcoming and lovely to look at. I would LOVE to use and share these products as well. The story about how this small company is staying authentic, employing local people and continuing to rescue its community from financial peril is so inspiring and heartwarming! Thank you for including that part. Is it OK to share this on social media? Perhaps I need to look further for the “share” button… I often copy and paste links into my FB posts. I just want to be compliant with how I share Norwex material. Thanks!
Thanks for your kind words, Jeni! And yes, we were also moved by this company’s concern for the community. Please feel free to share; just look for the various social media icons shown at the bottom of the blog, underneath the listing of resources.
I love the concept of washable paper and would like to try it!
I’ve never heard of this! I would definitely like to try it!
I have never heard of this and can’t wait to share with my group!