lbs of Ocean Impact Plastic collected.Learn more about us & our mission
FREE US SHIPPING ON ORDERS $150+
Our work aims to take holistic action against plastic waste in the environment. To produce the world's first backpack made of self-collected ocean plastic, we set up our own clean-up program in Indonesia in 2016. Based on clean-up experiences gained locally and current calculations of e.g. Jambeck et al. (2015), we now no longer exclusively collect plastic from the ocean. Rather, we are able to open up even larger areas with the collection points starting from the coast. By giving local people a direct opportunity to recycle alongside creating basic waste management structures, we are providing preventive support to avoid improperly disposed plastic waste threatening the ocean in the long term. In this way, we create concrete added value: beaches become cleaner, waste becomes a recyclable material and the environmental awareness of everyone involved changes for the better. Not least because of this, we are in close exchange with the local authorities, who support our work and work with us to find long-term solutions for waste reduction and disposal. Most importantly, our work shows a way in which companies can produce high quality products using recycled materials and make a measurable contribution to improving our environmental situation. It is a start that we hope will contribute to political and social change and encourage many consumers to join in. To achieve this change in thinking, we need many actors, such as politicians, legislators, NGOs and many people who are aware of the challenge and take the necessary steps.
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 near-shore 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. It is composed of actively collected plastic from the ocean including mangrove regions and from nearshore areas. The litter is mainly collected in the delta region of local rivers and nearshore waters. 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.
Our production meets all social, ecological and economic criteria of sustainable management. Resources are preserved without compromising on the product quality. All bags are high-quality and durable – with a minimalistic and timeless design.
In Indonesia, we support the development of waste infrastructure in rural areas and create jobs that are accessible to all. With our Code of Conduct, we commit to the fair treatment and payment of all employees in the supply chain: fair and safe working conditions, fair wages and the equal treatment of all stakeholders.
All business activities aim to take holistic action against plastic waste having a negative impact on the marine ecosystem. Therefore, we do not limit our on-site activities in Indonesia to the cleaning and processing PET into yarns. In particular, the other types of plastic collected are also fed into suitable recycling solutions.
Benjamin Mandos and Roman Ruster, the two founders, had been closely connected to the sea 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 actually came about by chance, but made sense as backpacks are a particularly durable, robust and easy-care 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 minimalist, timeless design. The ROLLTOP has established itself as an ideal all-rounder.
Indonesia generates more than three million tons of plastic waste annually
Around a third of it, i.e. more than one million tons, ends up in the ocean every year. This makes it, after China, the country where the most plastic ends into the ocean worldwide.
In Indonesia, we quickly found partners who can process the collected plastics into pellets in a technologically demanding process that meets European standards. We were also able to identify customers who produce additional new articles from all types of plastics that are not usable for the production of our products or use them for heat generation.
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.
Even though there are no official retail stores (yet), our products can be purchased with one of the many retail partners. For stores nearby, here is the link to the Store Locator.
We have pioneered a way to tackle the global waste problem and the worldwide handling of plastic waste in a holistic way and to successfully improve it with economic methods. Our products – backpacks and bags – stand for the holistic approach of achieving a positive impact on the marine ecosystem through entrepreneurial action and raising awareness for a more conscious use of plastic through public awareness efforts.
For internationally operating companies with a multi-stage, complex value chain, it is enormously difficult to completely map the ecological footprint of its products or the entire company. For example, our innovative GOT BAG business model, aiming to recycle Ocean Impact Plastic and processing it into textiles, still is so new that it took us some time to optimize individual production steps.
To be significant, a life cycle assessment or LCA must systematically measure and analyze the environmental impacts of a product's entire life cycle. To do so, the system boundaries must be defined and then the resource input and output factors of all processes must be recorded. This is an enormous challenge requiring considerable resources along the entire value chain, especially at our production partners' end.
This perhaps one of the reasons, why to our knowledge there is no LCA for a backpack or daypack on the market. However, since we want to show that ecology, economy and social behavior do not have to be contradictory goals, we are striving for a comprehensive certification as a B Corporation of the B Lab network.
You can find all our recent collaborations here. On this page, we further explain our choices to collaborate with.
We are convinced that we can constantly develop further by sharing ideas with others, gathering new inspiration and creating more impact together. That's why our founder Benjamin talks to visionaries, role models and partners in the 'Create an Impact-Podcast'. Together our aim is to create more awareness for the global plastic waste crisis and its consequences – in line with the other GOT BAG channels like Instagram, Facebook etc.
In the first season, Benny interviews, among others, the CEO of Sea Shepherd, the founder of Plan A and York Hovest, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. But the podcast isn't just meant to inspire people in the industry. It also aims to give people outside the industry insights about life on the open seas, the impact of plastic waste on our oceans, and offer inspiration for making a difference. You can find the Create an Impact podcast wherever podcasts are available. A second season will follow – stay tuned!
Our business model is based on the conviction that sustainable development and an innovative, strong economy are mutually dependent. We see our corporate responsibility in raising awareness of the plastic problem among people around the world – and use our reach as a platform to find comrades-in-arms for our mission.
We are convinced that sustainability goals are not conceivable without intelligent innovations, modern infrastructures and an efficient industry. That is why we see sustainability as an opportunity 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 and for quality education, clean water, responsible consumption, climate protection and the preservation of marine biodiversity.
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 performance 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.
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 articles 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 the backpacks, we recycle PET plastics, which account for about 10-15% of the collected Ocean Impact Plastics. In the meantime, we found purchasers for the other types of plastic, who use them for new products or for heat generation. Composite materials are particularly problematic. According to our current state of knowledge, they can only be stored or used as an alternative for heat and energy generation to replace fossil fuels such as coal. Our clean-up program is subject to ongoing costs that make storage impossible. So the portion of Ocean Impact Plastic that we summarize as "residuals" is used to generate energy. Proceeds are reinvested in the clean-up infrastructure.
We cooperate with the Berlin-based start-up Cleanhub and sell the so-called residual materials of the collected Ocean Impact Plastics to Indocement, a subsidiary of the German HeidelbergCement AG. Thus, foil and plastic bag residues, sachets for shampoo or ketchup, and other composite materials that cannot currently be processed into other products, for example, due to their aluminum coating, are fed into energy generation. Cleanhub in turn sells certificates to third-party companies, which use them to finance thermal recycling with Indocement and offset their plastic consumption. In return, Cleanhub supports us by precisely documenting the amount of plastic recovered, making our clean-up achievements more transparent.
According to our understanding, ocean plastic is floating on the oceans and forming into increasingly large garbage carpets threatening the ecosystem. Collecting, sorting and recycling it is usually quite costly, as ships are needed to collect it and it is often already severely degraded by salt water and weather. Terms like ocean plastic and ocean-bound plastic are not protected, often overlap with other plastic occurrences and consequently their definition is vague. Since they are still frequently used for advertising purposes without a clear distinction, the exact origin of the plastic is often unclear and consumers can feel misled.
With the term Ocean Impact Plastic, we want to distinguish ourselves from this and transparently document where exactly the collected plastic comes from and in what form it poses a threat to the oceans there. You can read our definition of Ocean Impact Plastic here.
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, e.g. by Jambeck et al. (2015), 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. In this way, we create concrete added value: beaches become cleaner, waste becomes a recyclable material and the environmental awareness of all those involved changes for the better. This is one of the reasons why we are in close contact with the local authorities, who support our work and work with us to find long-term solutions for waste reduction and disposal. The increased demand for our products, the technical progress of our production and the expansion of our clean-up programme meanwhile even enable us to further expand the time-consuming and costly collection of the plastic at this early stage even when we cannot use it for our own production
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.
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 first self-built clean-up program is located in Demak on the Indonesian island of Java. The site is located at the mouth of several rivers carrying large amounts of plastic waste from the inland towards the ocean. 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 processed.
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 not end up in the ocean again, rethink circular economy and actively fight for the conservation of our environment.
With the goal of a circular economy, our backpacks are made of recycled materials and are particularly durable. They consciously forgo the need for constant new collection cycles and pursue a timeless, minimalist design language. Instead of following seasonal trends, our customers can rely on them for as long as possible. And if something does need to be repaired, our customers can take advantage of the free spare parts service.
The aim is to create greater awareness worldwide – both with our clean-up program and on-site information activities in Indonesia, but also by raising people's awareness of plastic recycling worldwide. "Create an Impact" – we encourage people to reflect, to question their own actions and to work together to bring about positive change.
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.
Of course, the fishers of our network collecting parts of the Ocean Impact Plastics directly from the ocean mainly catch fish and other sea animals. Accordingly, it cannot be completely ruled out that our products come in touch with animal products at some point. However, based on the materials used, the products are vegan.
In addition to the textile made of Ocean Impact Plastic, we mainly use recycled plastics to produce the bags and backpacks. For some padding elements, we have not yet been able to find alternatives made from recycled materials that meet our quality and ecological requirements. Thus, we currently still use virgin materials for parts of these components – but are pressing ahead with the search for alternatives made from recycled plastic in cooperation with our production partners. In addition to the parts made of Ocean Impact Plastic, we are currently using the following materials for our bags and backpacks:
Mesh Fabric – rPET & PET (Recycled Polyester & Polyester)
Padding (depending on model) – PE (Polyethylene), EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) or PU (Polyurethane)
Straps – rPET (Recycled Polyester)
With the stainless steel thermos bottle and the merchandising shirts and sweaters – products that are not made of Ocean Impact Plastic – customers indirectly support our clean-up program in Indonesia with a donation: with every product sold from the Impact Collection, the infrastructure is strengthened and structures created to contribute to a functioning waste management system in the long term.
All our products 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:
All ROLLTOPS and WEEKENDER are custom made from a 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 20,000mm. 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 1,500mm. 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 of the products.
This depends on its design and size. To manufacture one of the iconic ROLLTOP backpacks, we collect around 3.5 kilograms/7.7lbs of plastic waste per piece. To make our sturdy yarn, we use only the PET portion of it, which is usually around 10 – 15% of the total plastic waste collected. The remaining part of the collected plastic trash will of course not end up in the ocean again: We are feeding it to appropriate recycling solutions.
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.
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 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.
In order not to stress the coating of the products too extremely, you must not wash the backpacks in the washing machine. It is best to wipe or rub with warm water, a soft sponge or brush. All our textiles can be washed and cleaned according to care instructions included in the product. Products that have not been cleaned according to the care instructions are excluded from the two-year warranty. Our Bottle made of stainless steel is dishwasher safe.
None of our products contains SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern) in a concentration of more than 0.1 percent by weight. Both fabric, coating and all other ingredients such as zippers or buckles are REACH compliant (according to the 2021 list). Further information can be found on the AskREACH database.
The people working for us in Indonesia are paid according to the amount of plastic waste collected. They receive several times the local plastic price. In order to be able to guarantee 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 it can not only work with them in the long term, but also offer further compensation – such as insurance and school fees.
All partners along our value chain are required to undergo regular external audits, which confirm that resources are used responsibly and that all production steps have as little negative impact as possible on people and the environment.
The PET portion of the Ocean Impact Plastic collected for our products 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 Textile Exchange and that all production steps meet its strict social and environmental requirements.
Our textile production in Quanzhou, China, is SMETA certified by the Bureau Veritas Registre International de Classification de Navires et d'Aeronefs. It proves that during the manufacturing process the economic, ecological and social requirements of the organization are met. Also during the last production step, we pay attention to the smallest possible ecological footprint. The certifications commissioned by the production partners are documented in CSR test reports and can thus be viewed by us, the partners in the value chain and customers.
Currently, we have developed a Code of Conduct specifically for our organization, which defines our values, how we will work and the standards we will adhere to. This commitment also applies to cooperation with our partners.
We maintain a very close relationship with our local partners: Max and Leonie, who manage the organization of our clean-up program in Indonesia, are on site as often as possible to coordinate closely with the local workers, the local authorities and the Yayasan Rumah Ilham Foundation, who support the implementation and coordination of the clean-up program. Before the pandemic began, other members of our team also visited partners in China on a regular basis.
Our ROLLTOP backpack 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.
Our textile production in Quanzhou, China, is SMETA certified by the Bureau Veritas Registre International de Classification de Navires et d'Aeronefs. It proves that during the manufacturing process the economic, ecological and social requirements of the organization are met.
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 at least 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. Instead, we clean the plastic particularly thoroughly, pre-sort it and continuously optimize the process parameters, so that the yarn quality remains as constant as possible. Nevertheless, it can of course not be prevented that our products differ slightly and have small defects in material structure.
The pellets made from Ocean Impact Plastic are transported by ship from Indonesia to China for further processing. Locally, 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. There, the products are shipped in reusable and recyclable packaging made from recycled materials.
We are striving to make our transport as climate-neutral as possible – but cannot yet make any comprehensive statements about the ecological balance of our transports. Even before our first backpack was sold in 2018, our two founders Benjamin Mandos and Roman Ruster had invested a lot of time in comparing locations for further processing and production as well as different transport options from an environmental perspective. In the meantime, we have already optimized transports between collection points and processing plants within Indonesia, reducing trips and organizing them according to demand. A cooperation with Plan A aims to track and disclose all CO2 emissions of the value chain.
We offer a 2-year warranty on all products.
Please send a message to email@example.com with a picture of the defective spot. Your product or individual broken parts will then be replaced.
Our products can be purchased from our own online shop or from one of our trading partners. For physical locations, you can find a dealer near you with the Store Locator.
Product delivery can be done throughout North America. Shipping costs (including VAT):
Deliveries within the United States
Free shipping on orders $50+ & Free exchanges
For orders <$50: $4,95
Deliveries to Canada:
$15 shipping costs per order + duties
Deliveries to Mexico:
$25 shipping costs per order + duties
We take our mission seriously. Your order should be delivered to your door with as few emissions as possible. That is why we have decided to offset all CO2-emissions caused by our shipments. All of our packaging is FSC certified. We ship our products exclusively in poly mailers and shipping boxes, which are made from recycled material. The shipping bags are reusable and recyclable (in most households they can be recycled at a normal grocery bag drop-off point). To learn more about our eco-friendly packaging concept, visit our partner's website here.
Please send an email with your return request to firstname.lastname@example.org. After your request is processed, the team will send a prepaid FedEx return label. Once we have received the returned item, we will refund your money. The return period lasts 14 days after you have received your product.
We offer free returns within the US.
Once an order is placed, it is automatically transmitted to our shipping partner. However, if a direct request is placed to cancel an order, we will do our best to process and withdraw your order. Otherwise, we are happy to send a prepaid return label.
If you would like to change your shipping or billing address afterwards, please send us a message to email@example.com. We will then change the address for you.
Once your order is handed to our shipping partner, you will receive an email with the tracking data of your order. Normally, this takes about 1-2 business days after the order is confirmed.
You can individually choose the payment method for your purchase in our store.
Reach out to Theresa, Martin and Tristen from our customer happiness team here. We look forward to answering your questions as soon as possible.
Your cart is empty.
Add products now and become an ocean hero by helping us to recover Ocean Impact Plastic!
Your cart is empty.
Add products now and become an ocean hero by helping us to recover Ocean Impact Plastic!