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us & our mission

Our Mission

What drives us

We are dedicating our efforts to clean oceans and the responsible use of plastic. Our mission to "Create an Impact" represents the fact that we not only act sustainably, but actively bring on change! Together with the GOT BAG Family we raise awareness and sensitize people worldwide to a more conscious use of natural resources.

Let’s question our actions and make an impact for people and the environment. Be part of our mission!

Founder’s story

Since childhood, Benjamin has regularly spent time close to the ocean – first while sailing with his dad, and later during trips to Southeast Asia. He is shocked by the amount of plastic he comes across: ‘Disposable bottles, bowls, ropes, nets, tubs – even after 400 years, these plastics have not completely decomposed. The fact that the marine habitat is threatened by this has always been a real concern for me.’

He decides to take action. In 2016, he develops the world's first backpack made of ocean plastic and founds GOT BAG.

‘We needed to act. With our mission, we want to tackle the advancing plastic pollution of our oceans and encourage a more conscious use of natural resources.’ - Benjamin Mandos
%

of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine flora.

(Yes, more than trees)

%

of the garbage in our oceans is plastic waste.

is the year, every sea bird will have plastic parts in its stomach.

%

of worldwide plastic waste is being recycled.

years for plastic waste to decompose in our oceans.

OUR APPROACH

Which efforts we make for cleaner oceans

Preventive
Attract attention to sensitize people worldwide to a more conscious use of plastic and recycling
Active
Collecting ocean plastics and returning them to the raw material cycle
Innovative
Collaborate with scientific partners to recycle more plastics & open up new clean-up opportunities

What we base our actions on

High-quality manufacturing & timeless design

By reprocessing existing materials using innovative methods and manufacturing durable products from them, we actively contribute to a circular economy.

Together against plastic

By promoting the conscious use of plastic, raising awareness and supporting the development of a waste infrastructure in Indonesia, we are raising awareness of recycling at our collection points and around the world.

Resource-saving production

By acting according to the latest scientific findings and permanently optimizing our value chain, we save oil, water and CO2 with our production.

Added value for people & the environment

By pursuing the UN Sustainable Development Goals with our mission, we are wearing GOT BAG backpacks with pride – while actively supporting social change.

Our Clean-up program

How we collect ocean plastic

With our clean-up program in Demak, on the north coast of Java in Indonesia, a network of 2,000 fishermen is collecting plastic from the ocean as bycatch: Depending on the product, we need 1.5 kg to 5 kg of it – by now, we are collecting up to 50 tons per month.

And of course we don't just collect and recycle the PET for our textile production – we also discard all other parts of the recovered plastic according to the right recycling chain to ensure they are not lost to the raw material cycle.

In the meantime, the fishermen in our network have become important multipliers on site. They communicate their knowledge about plastic waste and recycling and make their environment more conscious about it.

We are in close contact with the local government, which supports our work and collaborates with us to find long-term solutions protecting the threatened marine ecosystem.

What types of plastic threaten the ocean

It is not only plastic bottles or straws floating in the ocean threatening it – other types of plastic can also have a negative impact on the ecosystem. That's why we distinguish between different stages, have already been able to develop appropriate countermeasures for some of them & keep on exploring ways to fight different types of plastic threatening the ocean:

River Plastic
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Since the beginning of civilization, humans have used waterways to dispose of waste. At this stage, plastic waste is called River Plastic. In tropical regions, rivers continuously flush it into the oceans; in temperate regions, this usually happens within a single month – during the rainy season or flash floods.

To keep plastic out of the oceans from the very beginning instead of collecting it there, we are also working on measures to prevent river plastic. On one of the world's most polluted rivers, the Ganges, for example, we are building a TRASH BOOM. This is a floating element intercepting River Plastic and preventing it from entering the sea.

Social Plastic
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In Germany, there is a 25-cent deposit per bottle when returning PET. In many countries, however, such a collection system does not work. Instead of being recycled, the plastic ends up somewhere in nature and might eventually end up in the ocean. We refer to this plastic – household plastic polluting the environment – as Social Plastic.

As a countermeasure, we also accept Social Plastic at the collection points of our clean-up program in Indonesia. Local residents can hand in their waste as well as collected Ocean Plastic and are compensated appropriately.

Ocean-Bound Plastic
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Jenna Jembeck et al. provided the first definition of Ocean-Bound Plastic in 2015. The scientists define it as plastic waste of any size (microplastic, mezzoplastic and macroplastic) left behind within 50 km of the coast – in places where waste management is non-existent or very inefficient. Plastic waste in landfills is not included – only those in unmanaged dumps. Since it also entails a risk of being moved closer to the ocean by winds or rain, we interpret its collection as a preventive measure corresponding to the collection of Social Plastic on beaches and areas close to the ocean.

Ocean-Bound Plastic is often collected and recycled with clean-up events. Since such initiatives generate attention and encourage a more conscious use of natural resources, we support and organize them worldwide: With the RhineCleanUp even right on the doorstep of our Mainz headquarters - but also on the west coast of the USA or in Hawaii.

Ocean Plastic
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According to GOT BAG's understanding, Ocean Plastic is floating on the oceans forming into ever-growing garbage patches that threaten the ecosystem. Collecting, sorting and recycling it is usually quite cost-intensive: Ships are needed to collect it and it is often already heavily decomposed by the salt water and the weather.

So far, we are not aware of a universally recognized definition of the term - which is why it is often used as a synonym with Ocean Plastic in other stages. However, with our GOT BAGs, we are actively tackling plastic already or still floating in the ocean – by having a network of fishermen collect it for us near the coast as bycatch. In the long term, we plan to use hard-to-reach Ocean Plastic floating on garbage patches to generate data for research purposes and to understand more precisely how it can be recycled.

Micro Plastic
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According to a definition by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, small plastic particles with a diameter of less than 5mm are referred to as Micro Plastic. Both particles deliberately produced for cosmetics or toothpaste, for example, and those produced by the decomposition of plastic products cause problems for the environment: every year, more than three million tons of them end up in the sea worldwide. Mussels react to the ingestion of microplastics with inflammation, and fish and hermit crabs exhibit behavioral changes. Humans ingest Micro Plastic, for example, when they consume seafood. However, we are not yet aware of any studies demonstrating harmful effects of Micro Plastic on humans.

Collecting micro plastic is almost impossible, which is why we support preventive measures - for example, the recycling of other types of plastic besides PET used for our textile production, which are further processed instead of expiring. We therefore also consider it elementary to provide information about possible consequences and to sensitize people worldwide to a more conscious use of plastic.

What ocean plastic consists of & how we are dealing with it

100%

The fishermen of the GOT BAG network not only collect the PET we are using for our production. Also all other types of plastic they catch are discarded to suitable recycling solutions – to ensure they never end up in the ocean again:

11%

PET (e.g. plastic bottles)
PET (e.g. plastic bottles)
After cleaning, the PET portion of the collected plastic is processed into textile for the GOT BAG backpacks.

67%

Residual Materials (e.g. beverage cartons)
Residual Materials (e.g. beverage cartons)
Coatings and glues make composite materials, among others, particularly difficult to recycle. So far, we have therefore been using them to generate energy – as an alternative to burning fossil fuels.

22%

PP & HDPE (e.g. plastic bags)
PP & HDPE (e.g. plastic bags)
PP & HDPE must be mechanically recycled – i.e. it is processed into so-called secondary raw materials before it can be turned into other new products.

Our supply chain

How we turn trash into treasure

How our supply chain is set up

Indonesia, one of the world's top sources of plastic with a poor waste management infrastructure, is particularly affected by the consequences of ocean plastic. This is why we have decided to build our first clean-up program here. In China, we turn it into textile as our partners there have the greatest expertise worldwide and are geographically conveniently located between Indonesia and Europe:

All GOT BAG partners are required to undergo regular external audits certifying that resources are used responsibly and that all production steps have the lowest possible negative impact on people and the environment.

Our GOT BAG Cycle

How we contribute to a circular economy

We are committed to a more conscious use of natural resources by recycling existing raw materials, encouraging people to repair instead of buying, and elaborating how to recycle more and more types of plastic for our production in the future.

With the GOT BAG CYCLE we are aiming for a closed material cycle & using natural resources responsibly.

Our team

How we are connected through our values

Our Team

We are a dynamic, diverse team full of creative minds – united by the mission to make the oceans a little cleaner with every backpack sold. We question our actions critically and discuss challenges transparently – because we are convinced that fundamental change can only be achieved through collaboration and publicly encouraging each other to rethink established behavior and habits.

Together we are creating an impact – for people, the environment and especially the marine ecosystem!

Our values

We want to inspire others with our vision – because we are convinced it is possible to run a sustainable business while creating an impact. We are a team, a family, a movement of visionary minds.

We actively exchange ideas with our customers and partners – the GOT BAG Family – in order to better respond to expectations and needs.

We find numerous supporters for our mission – and in return offer inspiration and real solutions for more sustainable behavior, without having to sacrifice functionality and style. We strive for quality – because we believe that only long-lasting products are truly sustainable.

any questions?

You are feeling curious about us and our mission? Then take a look at our FAQs.
CREATE AN IMPACT

Do you want to become a part of our team?

You can find all open positions here at a glance. We are looking forward to your application!

Click here for the jobs
 

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