Photo: EkoBag

In the age of the consumer society and the fast pace of life, billboards, advertisements, and slogans do not last long. Very quickly, each of them becomes replaced by some newer content. However, in the same era, an interesting initiative appeared—imagine walking around the city and carrying a bag whose story began with a large advertisement on a billboard in your street. Recycling PVC foil for making billboards into a brand-new, unique bag significantly contributes to the circular economy, which relieves the planet and natural resources. Ivanka Stamenović creates art and fashion from waste, and the ecological, social enterprise EkoBag is a special story about the renaissance of ordinary advertising materials.

Ivanka’s story begins at the National Employment Bureau, where she went to learn more about self-employment tools. Then, quite by accident, she learns that the Initiative for Development and Cooperation (IDC) is looking for women who know how to sew. She recognized her chance. She is a textile designer by profession, and she saw a chance for progress as someone with a lot of experience and even more will. With the help of Miodrag Nedeljković from IDC, the project’s creator and with Ivanka’s realization, unique bags were sewn. 

The business runs in such a way that when some companies wish to cooperate with EkoBag, they donate billboards from which completely new products are made in the workshop. Then they buy new products with a sewn-on logo, recognizable colors, and billboard messages to continue the marketing campaign. They distribute newly created products to their employees or at promotions and workshops. 


– Our target group are companies that advertise in this way, promoting products or services. The degradability of banners takes 1,500 years, and if they are found in nature, they can even lead to soil contamination because they are impermeable, waterproof materials—says Stamenković. During Ivanka’s training for this project, her abilities came to the fore. 

She designed a bag for a car manufacturer’s promotional material, and as the company was very pleased, they doubled the quantity requested. Quality work and dedication contribute to the production of each bag and today are the trademark of EkoBag, which numerous large and well-known companies have recognized. 

Posters, which vary from 40 to 600 m2, represent a substantial amount of waste created due to one-time advertising needs. However, when EkoBag turns them into conference, business and everyday bags, wallets, folders, cases, wallets, and cardholders (clips, wallets…)—it becomes a range of products imbued with environmental awareness. The whole process proceeds by taking the foil from the billboard after the advertising campaign is over. Then, it is cut into smaller pieces, washed—and the cutting and sewing can begin.

Prepared by: Milica Vučković

Read the story in the new issue of the Energy portal Magazine ELECTROMOBILITY.