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.
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: 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.
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.