The two GOT BAG founders had been closely connected to the ocean since childhood and actively wanted to do something about the increasing amounts of plastic they saw entering the oceans. Symbolically, a backpack fits well with this theme, as it stands for the fact that we all have to shoulder the great task of ensuring the water quality for the future of flora and fauna.
The idea originated by chance, but it made sense because backpacks are a particularly durable, robust and easy-to-clean product. In the meantime, we, the employees as well as the customers of GOT BAG, have become convinced not only of the original idea, but also of the functional backpacks with their minimalistic, timeless design. The ROLLTOP is established as an ideal all-rounder.
We want to contribute to making the oceans free of plastic waste. That's why, in our clean-up programs, we collect plastic in all shapes and forms instead of just the parts that are easy to recycle – such as PET bottles. We have set up our own clean-up program in Indonesia, where local fishers, collectors and organizations collect plastic actively from the ocean and environment. This means mangrove areas and delta regions with their rivers and nearshore waters. As we collect plastic on land and the fisher villages, we prevent it from entering the ocean in the first place, and we are able to access larger areas with our collection points, starting from the coast.
By giving locals a direct opportunity to recycle and by creating basic waste management structures, we are taking preventive action to ensure that improperly disposed plastic waste does not pose a threat to the ocean over the long run. Thus, we create tangible impact: beaches get much cleaner, waste becomes a recyclable material, and the environmental awareness of all people involved changes for the better. This is one of the reasons why we are in close touch with local authorities, who support our work and cooperate with us in finding long-term solutions for waste reduction and disposal.
Most importantly, our work shows ways how organizations can produce high-quality products using recycled materials and make a measurable contribution to improving our environmental situation by doing so. It is a start that we hope will contribute to political and social change and inspire many others to join in. In order to achieve this new way of thinking, we need many actors such as politicians, laws, NGOs and lots and lots of people who are aware of the challenge and are willing to take the necessary steps.
We believe that sustainable development and an innovative, strong economy are mutually dependent. We are using our reach as a platform to gather supporters for our mission. And while we can't eliminate the massive amounts of plastic waste already littering the ocean beds, and each cleanup project might appear tiny compared to the millions of tons of new waste entering the ocean each year, for us every plastic cup and bottle collected represents a chance to preserve maritime habitats and wildlife.
Research on the topic of ocean plastic is only in its infancy – and in parallel, our work and the technical progress of production are steadily advancing. The structure of our clean-up program is also based on scientific findings – such as those of oceanologist Erik Van Sebille, who documents movements of ocean plastic over a longer period of time. Among other things, he shows that it moves near the coast, circulates from beach to beach and from mangrove to mangrove, and equally threatens the ocean at these different stages: http://erik.vansebille.com.
We consider it difficult to make general assumptions about the profitability of recycled plastic, as both the scientific community and organizations working in this field are still in the early stages of developing their findings and their work. Also in our case, much depends on local conditions and fluctuating influencing factors such as weather, time of year, and the social situation. Based on experience, we would agree insofar as it is likely to be challenging for large-scale productions requiring consistent quality to supply the value chain purely with ocean plastic.
In processing the Ocean Impact Plastic, we therefore calculate that the quality of the yarn will fluctuate – resulting in a greater failure rate. We deliberately avoid using additives such as new plastics or chemical additives to alter the mechanical qualities of the recycled plastic. Instead, the plastic is cleaned particularly thoroughly, pre-sorted and process parameters are continuously optimized so that the quality of the yarn remains as constant as possible. Nevertheless, it can obviously not be completely prevented that the textile for our products differs slightly and that material structure shows small defects.
Our GOT BAG head office is located in Mainz, South-Western Germany. In mid-2020, we established another location to tap into the North American market. Our office there is located in Portland, Oregon, with two hubs in Denver, Colorado, and Toronto, Ontario.
Although there are no official retail stores (yet), our products can be purchased from one of our many retail partners. For stores near you, click this link to the Store Locator.
We assume that our products have a lower impact on CO2, water and biodiversity than conventional backpacks because we are using recycled instead of new materials and a long-lasting, timeless design. However, at this point this is an assumption that we have yet to prove: The only way to scientifically validate it is a life cycle assessment.
For internationally operating companies with a multi-stage, complex value chain, it is difficult to completely map the ecological footprint of their products or the entire company: To be significant, a life cycle assessment must systematically measure and analyze the environmental impacts of a product's entire life cycle. This requires extreme resources along the entire value chain, especially for our production partners. Nevertheless, we commissioned a corresponding analysis for our ROLLTOP in June and would like to present first results before the end of the year.
More than three million tons of plastic waste are produced in Indonesia every year1. About a third of it ends up in the ocean at some point. With up to 1.29 million tons of new ocean plastic entering the oceans every year, it is the second most plastic-emitting country in the world after China2. Tackling plastic waste issues right here is key to creating clearly noticeable, positive change.
Additionally, in Indonesia we quickly found partners who are able to process the plastic into pellets during a technologically demanding process. We were also able to identify organizations there that use all the plastics that we cannot yet use to produce our products to make other new items or to generate thermal energy.
Our first self-built clean-up program is located in Demak on the Indonesian island of Java. The base of the clean-up program is located at the mouth of several rivers carrying large amounts of plastic waste from the inland into the ocean, adding up to the plastic carried into the ocean through winds and rainfalls. The plastic waste recovered there tends to be less contaminated and decomposed.
Ocean Impact Plastic, by our definition, is plastic waste that has been improperly disposed due to a lack of waste management systems and is therefore either already drifting in the ocean or is to be found in coastal nature and therefore at risk of entering the oceans. Our team collects this plastic before it continues to threaten the environment, especially the oceans, and can destroy important habitats. Since all plastics are collected manually and among others are subject to tides and currents in the region of the clean-up program, the Ocean Impact Plastic composition varies significantly.
Ocean Impact Plastic is composed of actively collected plastic from the ocean, including mangrove regions and from coastal areas. The latter is mainly collected in the delta region of local rivers, coastal waters and villages. As the local people usually do not have access to a functioning waste management system, they can also hand in their plastic waste directly after use at our collection points.
With our clean-up program in Demak, our start-up was the first backpack manufacturer in the world to begin actively collecting and processing plastic from the ocean in 2016. Based on our clean-up experiences on the ground and current calculations, we see at least as much leverage against plastic in the sea in preventing improperly disposed plastic waste in the first place.
By giving local people a direct opportunity to recycle and by creating basic waste management structures, we take preventive action against improperly disposed plastic waste threatening the ocean in the long term. This way, we create tangible added value: the beaches become cleaner, the waste becomes a recyclable resource, and the environmental awareness of everyone involved changes for the better. Not least for this reason, we are in close exchange with the local authorities, who support our work and cooperate with us in finding long-term solutions for waste reduction and disposal.
As we continue to expand our production and thus our clean-up program, we are now able to collect even more plastic than just what we can use for our own products - although collection is a very time-consuming and costly process.
The total amount of Ocean Impact Plastic we have collected so far is on display through a live tracker on our website. We have been documenting the progress of our clean-up program in Indonesia together with the Berlin-based start-up “Cleanhub" in order to transparently disclose the amount of plastic collected as well as its composition and to be able to report its exact origin in a timely manner.
PET: 10-15% (can be used for our products)
PP: just under 5%
HDPE: significantly less than 5% - but difficult to identify
LDPE/LLDPE: 15-20% (e.g. plastic bags)
Mixed: about 55% (foil and plastic bag residues, various polyethylene variants, polycarbonates, polystyrene, polypropylene and containers without marking, as well as only about 20% composite materials – for example sachets for shampoo or ketchup – which are particularly difficult to recycle due to the aluminum coating)
Buckets and pipes: about 5% (probably PVC, but also without marking)
The core of our philosophy is to address the ocean plastic problem holistically: All types of Ocean Impact Plastic gathered at our collection points are fed to individual recycling solutions. From the very beginning, we were looking for innovative ways to reuse not only the valuable PET, but also all other materials. In Indonesia, we found partners who are able to identify customers for all types of plastic recovered beyond PET, which they use to produce further new items or to generate heat.
Materials made of PP, HDPE, LDPE, PS and PVC are conveyed to local companies, who provide them with appropriate recycling solutions. Mechanical processing is used to process them back up to produce new items.
Composite materials make up a large proportion of so-called residual materials, which are particularly difficult to recycle due to coatings and adhesives. Up to now, we have therefore used them as a fuel to generate energy from them – as an alternative to burning fossil fuels.
For the production of our backpacks we recycle PET plastics, which make up about 10 – 15% of the collected Ocean Impact Plastics. By now, we have also been able to find recyclers for the other types of plastic, who use them for new products or to generate heat. However, this is a particular challenge for composites, i.e. mixtures containing coatings or adhesives. According to our current state of knowledge, the so-called 'residual materials' can only be stored or used for heat and energy generation – in which case they are used as an alternative for fossil fuels:
For this reason, we are cooperating with the Berlin-based start-up Cleanhub to sell the residual materials from our Ocean Impact Plastics to Indocement, a subsidiary of the German Heidelberg Cement AG. This means that film and plastic bag remnants, sachets for shampoo or ketchup, and other composite materials that cannot currently be processed into other products due to their aluminum coating, for example, are used to generate energy. Cleanhub, in turn, sells certificates to third-party companies that use them to finance thermal recycling with Indocement and offset their plastic consumption. In return, Cleanhub supports us by precisely documenting the amount of recovered plastic, thus transparently mapping our clean-up performance.
Our partner organization GOT BAG Indonesia coordinates all our plastic collection activities in Demak, Indonesia. In our own on-site warehouse, the plastic waste is sorted, processed and pressed. All recyclable plastic is sent to GOT BAG Indonesia's recycling partners in the region. In addition, the foundation coordinates educational projects and educates schools about the dangers of plastic waste. Since September 2022, the foundation has continued all the activities previously undertaken by the Rumah Ilham organization. We are in daily exchange with the six permanent employees of GOT BAG Indonesia. Our Clean-up Manager Leonie is also on site several times a year to personally exchange ideas with our Indonesian team and plan further projects.
Symbolically, our products stand for clean oceans and a responsible use of plastic. That's why we not only collect the Ocean Impact Plastic that we recycle for the production of our travel and everyday companions, but also ensure that the plastics that cannot be used are recycled appropriately. Together with our customers, we ensure that they will not end up in the ocean (again).
With the goal of a circular economy, our backpacks are made of mostly recycled materials and are particularly durable. They consciously forgo the need for constant new collection cycles and pursue a timeless, minimalist design language. In addition to our two-year warranty, we offer you a spare parts service. We also take back GOT BAGs and replace them if the functionality is no longer guaranteed. For some cases we are already testing a sewing service and expect to be able to offer a welding service in the near future. In this way, we want to guarantee each GOT BAG the longest possible life.
We want to create awareness - both through our clean-up program and our work with local authorities in Indonesia, but also by encouraging people to think and work together to bring about change. Create an Impact.
Our company colors represent the favorite colors of mankind: Blue is the most popular color in the world and for us symbolizes the desire to do something for the quality of the seas. But it also stands for communication and thus for the goal of working well with all partners along the supply chain. Here, the mixed color turquoise, consisting of blue and green, can also be classified – the color of friendship, which stands for serenity and honesty. Together with the GOT BAG Community, we want to stimulate reflection. Red is considered the color of passion, but also of happiness in some cultures, and thus also fits perfectly with our mission to create a great movement to solve environmental problems. The Black of our products stands for elegance, objectivity and functionality.
Based on the materials used, the products are vegan. Of course, the fishers in our network who collect parts of Ocean Impact Plastics directly from the ocean mainly catch fish and other marine animals. Therefore, it cannot be completely ruled out that the recycled Ocean Impact Plastic used in our products has been in contact with animal products at some point.
In addition to the textile made of Ocean Impact Plastic, we mainly use recycled plastics to produce the bags and backpacks. For zippers, buttons and some elements for padding, we have not yet been able to find alternatives made from recycled materials that meet our quality and ecological requirements. We are currently still using virgin plastics – but are pushing ahead with the search for alternatives made from recycled plastic in cooperation with local partners. For our bags and backpacks, the following materials are currently used:
Mesh fabric – rPET & PET (Recycled Polyester & Polyester).
Padding (depending on model) – PE (polyethylene), EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) or PU (polyurethane)
Straps – rPET (Recycled Polyester)
The entire fabric for our GOT BAGs is made of Ocean Impact Plastic. However, the percentage of the total product varies depending on the model. This is due to the other ingredients like buckles, zippers, straps and foams for padding. These parts weigh quite a bit depending on their design – you can see their exact weight share in relation to the product in this table or the corresponding product page of our web shop.
For these parts, we choose recycled polyester (rPET) whenever possible, but are working on making or having them made of Ocean Impact Plastic as well. Since our specialty is the production of the yarn, we are working with partners: Currently, we are testing buckles partly made of Ocean Impact Plastic in a cooperation with the Dresden-based start-up Holy Poly.
With the stainless steel thermos bottle and our shirts and sweaters – products that are not made of Ocean Impact Plastic – customers indirectly support our clean-up program in Indonesia: with every product sold, the infrastructure in site of our clean-up program in Indonesia is strengthened and structures created to contribute to a functioning waste management system in the long term.
Since all our products are made from recycled materials, there can always be small variations in structure and color. This is not proof of a lack of quality, but merely the result that we actually use recycled, independently collected Ocean Impact Plastic for production. Still, the ambition obviously is to produce a flawless product, and we are working diligently to fix any minor flaws affecting the material's structure. However, irregularities can be smoothed out at home with a damp microfiber cloth or a cockpit cleaning cloth.
All GOT BAGs are made of a fabric woven with extremely robust 600D recycled polyester yarns from 100 % Ocean Impact Plastic. All fabrics are coated on the backside with a waterproof PU or TPU coating and on the outside either PU-coated or treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellency) for additional water repellency and stain resistance. All materials used are PVC and PFC free. Our fabric is manufactured using two different techniques:
We make all ROLLTOPS and WEEKENDER custom-made from TPU and PU coated material with high frequency welding. This sealing process creates seams which are waterproof and have the same tear resistance as the fabric. So the entire product is super robust and all seams are 100% waterproof. The water column of the fabric is over 20,000 mm. The contents are thus protected against rain and other weather conditions – provided that the opening is tightly rolled up and closed.
All our other products such as DAYPACKs and HIP BAGs are stitched with special sewing machines. The material is PU coated on the backside and equipped with an DWR (Durable Water Repellency) on the face side. The water column is at least 1,500 mm. Due to a DWR treatment, products of this line are permanently water-repellent. Rain is kept out by the PU coating, but would get inside through the seams in heavy weather. However, light rain, short showers or splashing water can usually not harm what is inside the products.
To avoid damaging the coating of the products in any way, the backpacks should not be washed in a washing machine. Instead, it's best to simply wipe or rub them with warm water, a soft sponge or a brush.
All textiles should be washed and cleaned according to the care instructions inside the product. Products that have not been cleaned according to it are excluded from the two-year warranty.
Our ROLLTOP that has made us a well-known brand is produced in China. We made this decision because of the country's expertise in textile production and because of China's geographical proximity to the collection and cleaning activities in Indonesia. In addition, producers located there have the specific know-how to equip textile products with a coating or impregnation free of PCV and PVC, making our products water- and weatherproof. The production is located in Quanzhou, Fujian province and meets European standards.
Since prices for yarn vary significantly and depend on the quantity sold, these figures can only provide a very rough indication. Additionally, we do not use new yarn and accordingly have few comparative values available – but assume approximately double to triple the price compared to regular polyester yarn of the same thickness. At this point, it is important to emphasize that while conventional PET yarns are a highly competitive mass market, yarns made from elaborately recycled material remain a niche market, so the price differences tend to be even more significant.
In addition, we must always calculate with a fluctuating quality of the yarn – and thus a greater failure rate. We consciously avoid using additives such as new plastics or chemical additives to alter the mechanical qualities of the recycled plastic.
The Ocean Impact Plastics PET content collected for our products is processed by companies that are all certified by the Global Recycle Standard (GRS). The GRS is a voluntary, international product standard that confirms that all recycled materials meet the specifications of the non-profit organization Textile Exchange and that all production steps go in line with its strict social and environmental requirements.
The people working for GOT BAG in Indonesia are paid according to the amount of plastic waste collected. They receive a much higher price than the local plastic price. In order to ensure their safety at work according to European standards, we train them on site and provide them with work clothes. We are currently working on assigning them ID numbers so that not only can we work with them in the long term, but we can also offer them further compensation – such as insurance and school fees.
When selecting our partners in our supply chain, we look for appropriate certifications and standards such as BSCI, SMETA, GRS, Oeko-Tex, Fair Wear, Bluesign, ISO or TÜV. In addition, we agree with our suppliers - as stipulated in our Code of Conduct - to comply with our social and environmental standards.
In addition, we employ a staff member in China and regularly travel to suppliers and our clean ups in Indonesia to monitor compliance with our standards.
We keep the CO2 footprint of our transports as low as possible and completely compensate for the remainder: The pellets made of Ocean Impact Plastic are transported by ship from Indonesia to China for further processing. There, we still rely on road transport, but we are also looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives. The finished goods are transported from China to Germany and the USA by ship.
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.
We offer a 2-year warranty for all our products.
You can purchase our GOT BAG products through our online shop or from one of our trade partners. With the Store Locator, you can find a dealer near you.
Product delivery can be done throughout Europe. Shipping costs (including VAT):
Deliveries to Germany and Austria:
Free shipping for orders over 79 EUR.
For orders below 79 EUR: 2.99 EUR shipping costs
Deliveries to Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg:
Free shipping for orders over 100 EUR order value.
For orders below 100 EUR: 4.99 EUR shipping costs
Deliveries to Switzerland*, United Kingdom*, Norway*:
Free shipping for orders over 149 EUR.
For orders below 149 EUR: 7.99 EUR shipping costs
Deliveries to rest of Europe (without islands)*:
7.99 EUR shipping costs
Deliveries to rest of Europe (islands)*:
49.00 EUR shipping costs
*For deliveries outside the European Union, import duties (customs duties) may apply. We are not responsible for any customs duties.
For our products, we use DHL Go Green’s CO2-neutral shipping worldwide – our partner’s packing is made from recycled and reusable materials. Returns are carried out with 8Returns, and utilize the same methods as our standard shipping procedures, which offsets transport-related emissions through CO2 certificates. These certificates are then used to support climate protection projects around the world. For more information on this and on DHL GoGreen, please click here.
Please send an email with your return request to email@example.com.After your request is processed, the team will send a prepaid return label via DHL. Once we have received the returned item, we will refund your money. The return period lasts 14 days after you have received your product.
Once an order is placed, it is automatically transmitted to our shipping partner. However, if you send us an email requesting to cancel your order straight away, we will do our best to process it before the product is shipped. If it doesn’t work out, we are happy to send a prepaid return label.
If you would like to change your shipping or billing address after placing your order, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the order hasn’t been shipped yet, we will change the address.
Once your order is handed to our shipping partner, you will receive an email with the tracking data of your order. Usually, this takes about 2 – 3 business days after the order is confirmed.
You can individually choose the payment method for your purchase in our store.
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