Stop the Presses

By David A. Greene / Published by Dwell
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It's not often that a recycled component makes a product more valuable than if it were made from virgin material alone, but in the case of Stug Bags, it works.

These days, messenger bags made from colorful castoffs are almost ubiquitous, from those juice container and beer can totes seen in world-market-type stores, to trendier modern bags made from recycled vinyl billboards. But Stug takes it all a meta-step further, by making their computer bags from the discarded materials used to print the colorful designs on those juice containers, beer cans, and billboards.

Stug bags are made from "printing blankets," the rubber-and-canvas sheets used in the offset lithography process (the way most colorful, mass-produced product labels, boxes, and bags are printed). These sheets are usually thrown away after they become permanently impregnated with ink, and covered in the ghost images of the commercial art they were printing; but once cut and stitched to a wool-felt liner, they become Stug's visually intriguing–and shock- and water-resistant–computer tote-bags.

Stug calls it "upcycling": giving discarded industrial waste new life as a (relatively) upscale product.


David A. Greene


Dave has contributed to Dwell since its inception. He's a CalArts dropout, a former art critic for The New Yorker, and a producer of comedies on TV. He lives in, and writes from, Los Angeles.

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