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Following his passion for water sports, GOT BAG founder Benny decided to clean up the ocean by manufacturing backpacks with recycled plastic waste from the Western Pacific. With the iconic GOT BAG ROLLTOP the world’s first backpack made of ocean plastic was developed.
What started as a passion project is now a successful and rapidly growing business. For every travel companion sold, we take a step forward in sensitizing people to a more conscious approach to plastic. All of our actions are dedicated to raising awareness and preventing plastic waste from ever getting back into the ocean.
Our head office is located in Mainz, South-Western Germany. With our expansion, we have opened an office on the west coast of the United States of America. Our office there is located in Keizer, Oregon.
Even though we don’t have our own retail stores, you can purchase our products with one of our many retail partners. If you are curious to know if there is a store nearby, check out our store locator.
We are convinced that sustainable development and an innovative, strong economy are mutually dependent. We want to demonstrate that social and environmental goals do not have to contradict each other. We see our corporate responsibility as raising awareness of the plastic problem among people around the world. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem. We are committed to socially, ecologically and economically sustainable action with a voluntarily developed Code of Conduct.
We interpret sustainability as an opportunity and obligation for everyone. The 2030 Agenda, adopted by the United Nations in 2015 aiming to create decent lives worldwide through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), serves as a guide for us to take responsibility. In particular, our mission supports the goals against poverty, for quality education, clean water, responsible consumption, and the preservation of marine biodiversity.
Our production is located in Quanzhou, the Chinese province of Fujian, and meets European standards. We have decided to produce there due to the country’s expertise in textile manufacturing and China's geographical proximity to our clean-up program in Indonesia.
All partners along our supply chain are obliged to carry out regular external audits, which confirm that the resources are used responsibly and that all production steps have the lowest possible negative impact on people and the environment.
The recovered ocean plastic is processed according to 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 and that all production steps meet strict social and environmental requirements. The GOT BAG plastics treatment system is certified according to the quality and environmental ISO standards 9001 and 14001. The GOT BAG textile production in Quanzhou, China, is subject to SMETA certification. It proves that the production process meets the economic, ecological and social requirements of the organization.
The environmental compatibility of production and the lowest possible interference with nature is a top priority for us as a sustainable-thinking company. We optimize our production chain continuously according to the latest scientific findings and technological advances. In order to ensure that the products comply with the REACH regulation of the European Union and are not contaminated with pollutants, like heavy metals or other chemicals. The collected ocean plastic is cleaned with caustic soda before further processing. In order to prevent cleaning agents from entering groundwater, the service water is filtered in a treatment plant. Wastewater treatment is certified with the Global Recycled Standard and is tested monthly by external auditors. Our textile production is certified by Bluesign and is audited every two years. The water-repellent coating of our products is environmentally friendly and PFC-free.
A network of 2,000 fishermen collects ocean plastic as by-catch in Demak, on the north coast of Java in Indonesia. The plastic is cleaned and sorted before processed. After cleaning, the PET portion is pressed into pellets. The pellets are then shipped to our production facility in China, where we turn them into a robust yarn for your GOT BAG.
Our first self-built clean-up program is located in Demak on the Indonesien island of Java. The site is located at the mouth of several rivers that carry large amounts of plastic waste from the inland into the sea. Most of the plastic waste recovered there is not yet so heavily contaminated and decomposed, so that it only has to be sorted and roughly cleaned on site before being transported on.
Currently, we can only recycle the PET part of the collected ocean plastic for our products. This includes plastic bottles, for example. The PET part accounts for about 11% of the total amount of ocean plastic collected by fishermen. The PET is processed into a robust yarn, from which all GOT BAG backpacks and bags are made. If you want to know more about how we recycle the other types of plastic, please check here.
Since the foundation of GOT BAG, it has been part of our purpose to research innovative ways of recycling plastic. Not only the valuable PET, but also all other materials caught from the sea with our clean-up program are recycled. For your backpacks, we recycle the PET plastics that make up about 10-15% of the materials collected as bycatch by the fishermen of our clean-up program.
In the meantime, customers for the other types of plastic have also been found, who use them for new products or to generate heat. Composite materials, i.e. mixtures containing coatings or glues, are particularly problematic. According to the current state of science, they can only be stored or used as an alternative for heat and energy generation to replace fossil fuels such as lignite. Our clean-up program is subject to ongoing costs that make emplacement impossible. Therefore, the portion of ocean plastic that we summarize as "residuals" is used to generate energy. The revenue generated through this can in turn be reinvested in our clean-up infrastructure.
We are cooperating with the Berlin-based startup 'Cleanhub' selling the so-called residual materials to Indocement, a subsidiary of the German Heidelberg Cement AG, as part of our clean-up program. This means that we use foil and plastic bag remnants, sachets for shampoo or ketchup, and other composite materials that cannot currently be processed into other products for example due to their aluminum coating to generate energy. Cleanhub in turn sells certificates to third-party companies, enabling them to finance thermal recycling with Indocement and compensate for their plastic consumption. In return, Cleanhub supports us by accurately documenting the amount of plastic recovered, transparently disclosing our clean-up performance.
We have already recycled over 150 tons of ocean plastic. And thanks to your help we are able to recycle more and more every single day! Thanks to a collaboration with „Cleanhub“ all our clean-up efforts in Indonesia will be tracked and documented even more precisely in the future.
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, develop appropriate countermeasures for some of them, and keep on exploring ways to fight different types of plastic threatening the ocean in the following ways:
We define River Plastic as plastic waste disposed through waterways. On one of the world's most polluted rivers, the Ganges, we are building a TRASH BOOM. This is a floating system intercepting River Plastic and preventing it from entering the ocean.
Household plastic polluting the environment is called Social Plastic. To prevent it from entering the oceans at some point, we also accept Social Plastic at the collection points of our clean-up program in Indonesia as a countermeasure.
Ocean Plastic, according to our understanding, is floating on the oceans forming into ever-growing garbage patches that threaten the ecosystem. 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.
Scientists, among others Jenna Jembeck, define Ocean-Bound Plastic as plastic waste of any size left behind within 50 km / 31 miles of the coast – in places where waste management is non-existent or very inefficient. Since it also entails a risk of being moved closer to the ocean by winds or rain, we support and organize clean-up events 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.
According to a definition by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, small plastic particles with a diameter of less than 5 mm are referred to as Micro Plastic. Collecting it 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 we further process instead of throwing them away again. We therefore provide information about possible consequences and sensitize people worldwide to a more conscious use of plastic.
From our point of view, research on this topic is still in its early stages – while our work and the technical progress of our production are constantly advancing as the structure of our clean-up program is based on scientific knowledge. For example, the work of oceanologist Erik Van Sebille documents the movements of ocean plastic over longer periods of time. Among other things, he shows that plastic moves near the coast, circulates from beach to beach,mangrove to mangrove, and poses an equal threat to the ocean at each of these stages.
The core of our corporate philosophy is to address the ocean plastic problem holistically. In addition to the ocean plastic we recycle for our production and our educational work on a more conscious use of plastic, we also discard all other types of plastic we remove from the environment according to the proper recycling solutions. Working with a network of around 2,300 fishermen in Demak, Java, Indonesia, we collect ocean plastic from coastal waters, mangrove forests and the delta of local rivers. By upscaling our clean-up initiatives, we are now able to engage on shore and along rivers to prevent plastic from entering the sea in the first place. On one of the world's most polluted rivers, the Ganges, we are building a Trash Boom. This floating element is designed to catch river plastic, preventing it from entering the sea.
Generally speaking, we find it difficult to make broad statements about the profitability of recycled ocean plastic. Since both research scientists and business organizations working in this field are still at the very beginning of their findings, their work is in constant development. In our case, much of it depends on local conditions and fluctuating factors like weather, time of year, and the state of society. Based on our experience, we believe a supply chain purely based on ocean plastic can be a challenge particularly for large-scale productions requiring consistently high quality.
When preparing the ocean plastic, we calculate with a fluctuating quality of the yarn – and thus a larger failure rate. We deliberately refrain from using additives such as new plastics or chemical supplements to alter the mechanical qualities of the recycled plastic. Instead, we clean the plastic thoroughly, pre-sort it, and continuously optimize our process parameters. This way the quality of our yarn remains as consistent as possible. Nevertheless, we cannot completely prevent the textile for our products from differing slightly and having small defects in the material structure.
With your GOT BAG we are jointly fighting against plastic polluted oceans and for a responsible use of plastic. That's why we do not only collect and recycle the ocean plastic needed to produce your backpack – but also the other types of plastic collected with our clean-up program are discarded according to the right recycling chain. This is to ensure that they never end up in the ocean again and demonstrating how we rethink circular economy and actively fight to preserve our planet.
With the goal of a circular economy, your GOT BAG backpack is made of recycled and resilient materials. It consciously refrains from new collection cycles and pursues a timeless, minimalist design language. Instead of following seasonal trends, you can rely on it for the long term. And if it ever needs to be fixed, our free repair service also ensures that you can use your GOT BAG for as long as possible, making it particularly sustainable for you.
Together with the GOT BAG Family, we want to raise awareness – with both our own clean-up program and educational work on site in Indonesia. We also sensitize people worldwide to a more conscious use of plastic. Be part of our mission to 'Create an Impact.’ Let's question our own actions and create change together!
All our travel companions are covered with an environmentally friendly PFC-free coating protecting it against moisture. Basically, our backpacks and bags are water-resistant. The ROLLTOP BACKPACK and the WEEKENDER are additionally processed with welded seams. Thanks to these seams, no water can enter your bag as long as you roll up its opening tightly to close it properly.
Your GOT BAG is made of recycled materials, so there may always be small variations in structure and color. Of course, we are constantly optimizing our processes to correct small material structure issues. For now, you can treat small imperfections at home with a damp cloth or a cockpit cleaning cloth.
So far, we can only use the PET part of the collected ocean plastic for the production of your GOT BAG. Of course, the other types of plastic do not end up back in the ocean: With our own clean-up program in Indonesia, we ensure that all plastic recovered by the fishermen is discarded according to the right recycling chain. In addition, we are constantly working with our research partners to be able to independently process more of it into new products in the future.
In addition to the recovered ocean plastic, recycled plastics are used for the most part of our production of bags and backpacks. For zippers, buttons and some upholstery elements, we have not yet been able to find alternatives made of recycled materials meeting our quality and ecological requirements. Currently we are using new materials – but are working with local partners to find alternatives made of recycled plastic.
The fishermen of our network, who collect the ocean plastic for your backpacks as by-catch, mainly catch fish and other marine animals. Therefore we cannot completely rule out GOT BAG products getting in touch with animal products. However, based on the materials used, our products are 100% vegan.
With the stainless steel thermos bottle and our apparel, we also have products that are not made of ocean plastic. Nevertheless, by purchasing them you indirectly support our clean-up program in Indonesia: With each product of the 'Impact Collection' sold, you are supporting us to strengthen the infrastructure of our clean-up program through donations.
As soon as we hand over your order to our shipping partner, you will receive another email with the tracking data of your GOT BAG order. Normally, this takes about 1-2 business days from the moment of order confirmation.
Shipping to Germany, Austria and Switzerland is free of charge.
If you would like to change your shipping or billing address afterwards, please send us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then change the address for you.
As soon as you have placed your order in our shop, it will be automatically transmitted to our shipping partner. However, if you tell us directly to cancel, we will do our best to process or revoke your order. Otherwise, we will be happy to send you a prepaid return label.
We take our mission seriously: To keep our CO2 footprint as low as possible, we choose trains to Europe and ships to the US as our means of transport. Also, our sustainable products are shipped in reusable and recyclable poly mailers made of 100% recycled materials. Currently, we are in close contact with our carriers to be able to offer climate-neutral shipping options across Europe soon. Stay tuned!
Please note that only unworn backpacks in good condition can be returned.
Please send an email with your return request to email@example.com. We will then send you a prepaid return label via DHL. Once we receive the return, we will refund your money. The return period ends 14 days after you have received the delivery.
From Germany and other European countries you can return your goods free of charge.
Please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture of the damaged area. We will be happy to help you to replace or repair your product.
Then contact Theresa, Martin, Tristen and Diana from customer service here. They will help you as soon as possible. We are looking forward to your questions!
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