5 Ways to Recycle a Seatbelt

Harveys' Treecycle bags are made from recycled seatbelts.
Harveys' Treecycle bags are made from recycled seatbelts.
Courtesy of Harveys

­­Designers are creating purses and bags out of seatbelts by weaving old seatbelt fabric sheets. By using seatbelt material, the bags are durable enough to stand up to most wear and tear.

Purses are now among the hottest items created from seatbelts. Increased demand has led to more manufacturers using seatbelt material rather than recycled seatbelts. An easy way to tell that a seatbelt purse is not constructed from old seatbelts is the look. If a purse is available in colors that you wouldn't find in a car -- hot pink, for example -- chances are good that the material is not recycled, since the dye could weaken a seatbelt's webbing and render it unsafe to use in your car.

Making your own bag requires more than simple sewing and weaving skills, but it's certainly doable. Start by wrapping strips of the belt material around a block the size of the bag you want, then weaving another set of strips so that a tight web of material is created. You can add another strip as a shoulder strap using heavy duty nylon thread and add other features, like a zipper or button closure, a cloth lining for the interior or an adjustable strap [source: Twofoos].