Role Model of the Week

Posted 4/14/2014 At 3:16pm

Joseph Stodgel is one of 18 Sustainable Cup Challenge fellows at The DO School in Dumbo and has been working closely with his other fellows to find a solution to the seven million plastic and paper drink cups that are used and discarded every day in New York. This Santa Fe native has a Master of Science from Plymouth University where he began acting on his motivation to change the way that important ecological issues are addressed. Joseph is currently living in Brooklyn and working on the Do School challenge as well as planning projects with Only Green Design in New Mexico and Greyton Transition Town in South Africa. 

If you want to connect with Joseph, you can find him online here:

LinkedIn: Joseph Stodgel 
Twitter: @spokeofsource


STATE: What motivated you to found Trash to Treasure when you were living in South Africa?

Joseph: I was motivated by the several things when I decided to throw a festival at the local dumping site and start Trash to Treasure. Firstly, I saw the need to bring more people to the destination point of the materials that they produced in their homes and see the ecological damage that is caused by these materials. Raising awareness is key to solving any issue.

Secondly, I wanted to provide all sorts of examples of how these regular trash materials can be used in truly beneficial and resilience bolstering ways. The festival accomplishes this through its buildings which are all made primarily of upcycled dumpsite materials and through its varied workshops where people can learn how to turn their trash into treasures. 

STATE: What do you think the biggest threat to the environment is?

Joseph: Humanity’s ecological disassociation is the biggest threat to the environment as a whole - people’s imposed disconnection from their surroundings and foundation in the natural world. We as humans are a part of nature and the environment, but have created belief systems that tell us stories otherwise, such as that we are irrevocably separate and removed from the natural world. The only way that humanity will survive on this planet is by recognizing that we are this planet, and that everything we do to the rest of life here, we do to ourselves. 

STATE: Tell us a little bit more about your plan to sell recycled products and minimize fossil-fuel inputs.

Joseph: The goal of the systems that my colleagues and I are developing is to see the full diversion and utilization of the waste stream. Glass, metals, plastics, paper and food waste can all be upcycled into building materials, alternative technologies, household and personal items, art supplies and soil amendments.

Because there is an overwhelmingly lot of trash, we look primarily to upcycled building applications and products to accomplish this diversion. This may be the utilization of materials in number as they are, such as a wall built from earth-rammed tires, or the creation of insulation panels from compressed waste plastics. 

Other important products are compost from food waste and alternative technologies from waste glass and metals such as glass bottle solar water heaters. Small products such as purses made from billboard material, or bags made of concrete sacks are important too, and offer more employment opportunities and revenue generation. 

In our projected systems, fossil fuel inputs are minimized through alternative transportation systems such as bicycle transport and the full upcycling of materials locally. Instead of shipping trash to far-flung landfills and recycling facilities, they will be gathered and utilized within the local area and distributed back to the local market.


Dee and Ricky x STATE

Posted 4/10/2014 At 10:35am


Check out more photos on Facebook!

STATE Conservation Month

Posted 4/2/2014 At 11:46am


April showers bring May flowers and we value protecting and preserving the Earth’s beauty and resources. So this month at STATE, we’re celebrating conservation. Whether you’re a recycler, a gardener, a DIY-er or just a fan of the environment, STATE’s got your back.

#STATEValues #ConservationMonth

STATE x Dee and Ricky

Posted 3/31/2014 At 1:46pm

Last week we unveiled our special new collaboration with streetwear designer/restaurant owner brother duo, Dee and Ricky Jackson.

Dee and Ricky are most famous for their LEGO accessories that have been worn by celebrities like Kanye West, Rihanna and The Roots’ Questlove and were featured in Marc Jacobs’ spring 2008 runway show. This talented duo has since collaborated with hit brands such as Casio, Puma, Converse, Joyrich, Mirraco, Pony, Urban Boulder and now STATE. 

Our new STATE x Dee and Ricky bags are just what spring ordered. Get yours now!

Posted 3/27/2014 At 8:02am

Introducing our new limited edition State x Dee and Ricky bags! Shop now.

Posted 3/24/2014 At 2:00pm

What’s red, yellow, blue and camo all over? Our new collaboration bag, launching this week! Stay tuned…you’ve never seen STATE quite like this before. 

How to Wear: The Ashton

Posted 3/18/2014 At 5:46pm

With Spring just around the corner, the longer days are practically begging for an outfit that mixes the best of winter (cozy knit sweaters + booties) with the best of spring (lightweight skirts + bright totes). The Ashton is an absolute must-have for a lady on the go. Change from a tote to a backpack and back again in a snap.


Our thoughts continue to be with those impacted by MH370

Posted 3/18/2014 At 4:01pm

Photo credit: Love, Limzy

STATE Springs Ahead

Posted 3/10/2014 At 12:05pm


Photo Credit: Barry Munger

Spring is a time of renewal. As the weather warms up and the plants start to grow, our collective mood raises after a long, cold winter. It’s a great season. But here in New York, spring is a state of mind. We’re always on the move toward something bigger and better. 

We built STATE Bags on six core values, a dedication to our community, and a desire to create something unique. Just in time for a brand new season, we’re excited to push forward some brand new things of our own. 


PackMan Feature: David Adekoya

Posted 3/6/2014 At 3:55pm
David Adekoya is one of STATE Bags’ motivational PackMen. Well-equipped with inspirational tidbits, David is on the scene when STATE hand-delivers our backpacks through our GiveBackPack program. David and his fellow PackMen and PackWomen stand as living proof that good things will happen in life if you stay on the right path, regardless of your circumstances.  

We got the chance to chat one-on-one about the GiveBackPack program, the importance of education, staying positive in tough situations, and of course, courage. 

STATE: What was it like growing up in East New York, Brooklyn?
David: It was a bit rough, given the environment, but it helped me to visualize at a young age what I didn’t want my life to look like.

STATE: What’s the one thing you wish kids growing up in similar neighborhoods like East New York knew or understood?

David: I want them to know that if you take your education seriously at a very young age, it can be a great tool for you as you get older. 

STATE: And what about the kids who are in middle school or high school who might have goofed off a bit?
David: It’s never too late to turn your life around, you just have to want it. No one can want it for you. There must be a change from within that makes you say, “I want my life to be different or be better.”

STATE: You’ve been with us since the building stages of the GiveBackPack program. In your eyes, what is the best part of the program?

David: The biggest thing with STATE is keeping up continuity and not just being present for that moment in time when the kids are in front of you. The badge program allows kids to always be connected to us in some way, shape or form and makes the message of STATE something that lasts. It shows kids that it doesn’t just stop at getting the bag. It’s about making a larger impact on your community and from your community, making a larger impact on the world. 

STATE: As a PackMan, you’re on the scene at every bag drop. What has been your favorite experience so far?
David: At the end of the bag drop at the Boys + Girls Club in Tampa, everyone was excited about getting their bags. A grandmother came up to me with her granddaughter and showed me her old backpack. It was very ripped and things were falling out. The grandmother said, “Thank you. This is very appreciated.” It was very touching.

STATE: We encourage kids to keep something that inspires them in their backpacks. Tell us, what do you keep in your backpack?

David: I keep a picture of one of my best friends from junior high school who unfortunately was murdered. We were inseparable and did everything together. But we graduated and led different lives. I was moving my life in a more positive direction but he started going down a negative path. Sometimes there are people in your life that you truly care about who are not doing positive things and you have to be able to find courage within yourself to stay on the right track. I wish I did more to bring him to a more positive path but I didn’t. I didn’t know how to help him without feeding into his negativity or distancing myself.

STATE: What do you now know about helping people you care about who might be going down a negative path?
David: You absolutely need a team. The more positive people you have in your life, the more united and strong your foundation is, the easier it will be to build yourself and someone else up. It requires a lot of self discipline to keep yourself from being pulled into the negative. You have to have the support you need from people who are positive so that you don’t lose hope or lose sight of what you’re trying to do for yourself when you are trying to help someone on a negative path. 

STATE: It’s also easy to get caught up in life’s should’ve, would’ve, could’ves. What would you tell others in those situations?

David: Try not to have any regrets and try not to put yourself down. Try to use all of life’s experiences as an opportunity to grow and find the light in a dark situation. No matter what happens, never think “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” just have the courage to move forward and keep trying no matter what.  

STATE: Speaking of courage and in honor of Courage Week, what’s your favorite courage quote?
David: “Shoot for the moon because if you miss you’ll still be amongst the stars.”