SHOP Our deals BACKPACKGUIDE MISSION Partners Contact Support Fragen? hello@got-bag.com
Learn More About

our Mission

the problem

WHY WE HAVE TO START ACTING NOW

Of the newly produced plastics worldwide, around 9% are recycled, 12% are incinerated and 79% end up in nature.*

Things cannot continue like this. Here's what we can do:

  • Produce & use less plastic
  • Improve waste infrastructure & recycle more
  • Collect plastic from the environment with clean-up programs

WHY SO MUCH PLASTIC ENDS UP IN THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN OCEANS

In Indonesia, everyone generates one-fifth of the waste that a US American person causes every day – but plastic accounts for at least 10% of it. In addition, there is plastic waste that is not officially being tracked and exported to Southeast Asia instead of being disposed of and recycled directly in Europe or the USA, for example.

Depending on the population size of a country, the level of industrialization and education, the number of people living close to the coast, the infrastructure and geographical factors such as weather, topography and vegetation, the proportion that is improperly disposed of into nature varies. Jambeck et al. (2015) estimate that in Indonesia it is around 83%. In industrialized countries such as the USA, it is usually only around 2%. Thus, after China, Indonesia is the country where the most plastic ends up in the ocean worldwide: Up to 1.29 MMT/year. In the USA, for example, it is as little as 0.11 MMT/year.

HOW PLASTIC REACHES THE OCEAN IN THE FIRST PLACE

OUR APPROACH

WHAT WE'RE DOING ABOUT IT

In 2016, we started collecting plastic from the ocean, recycling it and processing it into backpacks. Since then, we've been able to steadily increase the capacity of our clean-up program and thus the amount of plastic we collect each month. Even beyond this, we are continuously increasing our impact: Based on scientific findings and on-site experience, we know that it is as important to prevent improperly disposed plastic waste to keep it from entering the ocean in the first place.

Preventive
Collect improperly managed plastic waste to prevent it from entering the ocean

Raise awareness to become more conscious of plastic use
Active
Collect plastic from the ocean and return it to the raw material cycle
Innovative
Collaborate with scientific partners to recycle more types of plastic and open up new clean-up opportunities
Preventive
Collect improperly managed plastic waste to prevent it from entering the ocean

Raise awareness to become more conscious of plastic use
Active
Collect plastic from the ocean and return it to the raw material cycle
Innovative
Collaborate with scientific partners to recycle more types of plastic and open up new clean-up opportunities

our clean-up program

WHAT WE ARE UP TO IN INDONESIA

The amount of plastic collected as bycatch from the ocean by a network of now more than 2,000 fisherwomen and fishermen on the north coast of Java has steadily increased since we began our clean-up activities in 2016. Additionally, we have started to collect plastic on land that ends up in the environment due to a lack of or poor waste management systems. Starting from the coast, we are able to cover larger areas with our collection points. Thus, we provide a direct opportunity for recycling, collect improperly managed plastic and also act as a preventive measure for less plastic in the ocean.
To take our holistic approach further, we also thoroughly clean and process the PET portion of the collected plastic needed for the GOT BAGs. For the other types of plastic collected, we feed them into the appropriate recycling solutions. The individuals who are a part of our clean-up initiative have become important multipliers since they provide others with information on recycling and the negative effect of plastic waste on the ocean and sensitize their environment to a more conscious use of plastic. The outcome has been extremely rewarding since we have been creating close relationships with the local government on finding long-term solutions to preserve the marine ecosystem.

WHAT OCEAN IMPACT PLASTIC STANDS FOR

The material we collect is called Ocean Impact Plastic – a symbol that from now on it will no longer pose a threat to the ocean and we are creating an impact together with the GOT BAG community. It is composed of plastic that we actively collect from the ocean and the immediate vicinity of our collection points – from mangrove areas, rivers or even immediately after use. This measure prevents plastics from ending up in the ocean due to a lack of waste management infrastructure.

OUR SUPPLY CHAIN

HOW WE TURN TRASH INTO TREASURE

HOW PRODUCTS ARE BROUGHT TO THE GOT BAG COMMUNITY

Since the Indian Ocean is particularly affected by plastic pollution and its consequences, we collect the Ocean Impact Plastic in Indonesia. It is woven into a textile in China, as our partners there have the greatest worldwide expertise and are conveniently located between Indonesia and Europe:

Where we are facing limitations

OUR LIMITS

CLEAN-UP PROGRAM & SUPPLY CHAIN:

Recycling of plastic types
GOAL: Reusing as many as possible

We want to free the oceans from plastic waste. Consequently, we collect plastic in all shapes and varieties instead of only the parts that can be easily recycled. Accordingly, everything we collect must first be sorted. Then we make sure everything is recycled and used for new products, so it doesn't end up back in the ocean. Currently, we are able to process the PET to rPET ourselves – 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 cannot yet fulfill.

Transport
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.

Scaling
GOAL: Matching demand & supply

To live up to our mission, we are continuously expanding the capacity of our clean-up program. However, the quantities collected do not always match those we need to manufacture our products. By now, we are mostly collecting more and sometimes less plastic than needed for our production. To balance these amounts, we give excess quantities to our recycling partners or purchase additional ocean-bound certified plastic (OBP) from one of them.


PRODUCT:

Products made of more plastic type
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. So far, we have only been able to use the PET portion of Ocean Impact Plastic for our products. Other types of plastic cannot be processed at all, not with sufficient quality, or only with disproportionately high effort. Nevertheless, we would like to find long-term uses for these ourselves. 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 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.

Our products show that plastic from the environment can be used to make new things. We need to commit to reusing more and more plastic in the future and to all of us being more responsible with natural resources.
– Benjamin Mandos, Founder

any questions left?

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

Great deal! Your selection helps us to clean up the oceans. Great choice! Your selection helps us to clean up the oceans.

Your cart is empty.
Add products now and become an ocean hero by helping us to recover Ocean Impact Plastic!

All orders are processed in EUR, using the latest exchange rates.
Your %amount discount will be applied in the next step

Cart
Your selection

Your cart is empty.
Add products now and become an ocean hero by helping us to recover Ocean Impact Plastic!

    You want to get more plastic out of the ocean?
    EN
    EN