CLEAN-UP PROGRAM & SUPPLY CHAIN:
Recycling of plastic types
GOAL: Reusing as many as possible
We want to free the oceans from plastic waste. That is why we collect every plastic part that can harm nature, regardless of shape and type. We don’t just pick out the easily recyclable and thus also economically most valuable parts, but also make sure to remove as much plastic waste as possible. Accordingly, everything we collect must first be sorted. We are able to process the PET to rPET (= recycled PET) thanks to our recycling partners – it typically makes for between 10% and 15% of the Ocean Impact Plastic. Other types of plastic, such as PP or PA, we hand over to other recyclers, as we have not been able to use them for our own production so far. This is due to a number of reasons: Some materials are not suitable to make new products from them due to their properties. Some do not have a sufficient degree of purity. And often high minimum purchase quantities are required for recycling, which we are currently unable to meet. A high proportion of Ocean Impact Plastic is not yet recyclable at the current state of scientific knowledge - these are, for example, composite materials that contain different materials and can no longer be separated. This plastic is currently used in thermal recycling for energy production. We are in constant exchange with cooperation partners and contacts from the scientific community in order to find the best possible alternatives for this plastic.
GOAL: Via ship and train only
We keep the CO2 footprint of our transports as low as possible and completely compensate for the remainder. Therefore, we prefer to use ship and train connections, as they are the least emission-intensive in relation to load volume. But they take comparatively long. And since international logistics have been characterized by extreme conditions since the beginning of the pandemic, we have often been unable to meet delivery times. In order to avoid being sold out for months, we have therefore transported some products to Europe or the USA by truck or air freight. Their share was always less than five percent of our procurement volume and recently less than one percent. Through process improvements, we intend to completely avoid such shipments again very soon. We also use courier services for product samples that we need on site in Germany during product development – through digital processes, we are trying to reduce this need to a minimum.
GOAL: Expand waste management systems where they are needed & ensure value chain
To live up to our mission, we are continuously expanding the capacity of our clean-up program. We take social and ecological aspects into account and do not want to compete with existing waste management structures, but want to become active where these structures are lacking. This, together with our claim to recover all types of plastic accordingly, entails a high degree of complexity. Due to this complexity, it is currently not possible for us to cover the PET demand of our production exclusively from our own clean-ups. In order to ensure continuous production and to be able to work economically, we use additional material from partner organizations which, as certified Ocean Bound Plastic (OBP), meets our requirements for Ocean Impact Plastic.
Products made of more plastic types
GOAL: Using plastic types beyond the PET portion of Ocean Impact Plastic for GOT BAG products
So far, we have only been able to use the PET portion of our Ocean Impact Plastic to process it for the iconic GOT BAG products. Other types of plastic cannot be upcycled at all, not with sufficient quality, or only with disproportionate effort. Nevertheless, we are committed to finding ways to use these materials ourselves over the long run.
Therefore, our product development not only includes the design of new models, but also the continuous enhancement of existing equipment elements. With our partner HolyPoly, for example, we have been working on a special edition with buckles made of rPP since 2020.
Percentage of recycled materials in the product
GOAL: 100 %
We want to use little to no virgin plastics on our products. For some equipment elements such as foams, nets, zippers, coatings and buckles, this is not yet possible. For some components, this is because they are not yet available on the market in recycled materials - such as foams for padding for the back. For other equipment elements, such as zippers or the coating, we have already tested alternatives, but they did not meet our requirements for functionality or durability. For other elements, we are currently testing alternatives in pilot projects.
Repair / Return into a cycle
(GOAL: Longest possible product life & after-life solution)
From our point of view, it is most sustainable if GOT BAGs do not need to be replaced but can be used for as long as possible. We therefore manufacture products that are as sturdy and durable as possible. By optimizing the materials and the reparability of these, we are working to extend their longevity.
Since we use Ocean Impact Plastic as a raw material for our products, whose processing is very challenging, the textile made from it is rarely flawless. Visually, our products therefore appear to be used more quickly than comparable products made from virgin materials - but they remain fully functional.
Circular Economy & Circularity
GOAL: Contributing to a Circular Economy
With our 'From Trash to Treasure' concept we are part of a circular economy: GOT BAG products are an alternative made from existing raw materials instead of conventional backpacks and bags made from new plastic. Elemental to our product design is that the material used and the finished products are as functional and timeless as possible, and therefore particularly durable - so that the recycled plastic waste doesn't end up in the ocean (again). We give a two-year warranty and repair the products during this time so they can be used even longer. Not yet have we found an end-of-life solution for products that can no longer be repaired. We are working on it.