GOT BAG: bags and backpacks that fight plastic pollution in the oceans
Seems like no matter where you go in the world these days, there’s no escaping the effects of humanity. Hike through the woods – you’re almost certain to come across someone’s name carved into a tree. Take a walk along the beach – you will come across trash. Even in the middle of the ocean there is plenty of plastic to be found. The last point is extremely worrying, especially as more and more data is emerging that shows the ubiquity of microplastics in the environment. There are a ton of different groups doing amazing work to help with cleanup and prevention efforts. One of them is GOT BAG.
GOT BAG was founded in 2016 by German surfer and businessman Benjamin Mandos with the aim of leveraging business solutions to create a positive impact on the environment. The idea: collect plastic from the oceans and turn it into high-quality backpacks. Sell the backpacks and use the money to clean up more ocean plastic and keep the cycle going. So far, over 1,000,000 pounds of ocean plastic have been collected and recycled as a result. “I wanted to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem,” says Benjamin. “And with our mission, we want to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution and encourage a more conscious use of natural resources.”
That’s why Benjamin started the GOT BAG Ocean Impact Clean-Up initiative, in partnership with fishermen in Indonesia, where plastic pollution is rampant. Anglers often catch plastic in their nets while fishing, so instead of dumping it or dumping it on shore where it would likely end up in the oceans anyway, GOT BAG holds them accountable, gets the plastic out of their hands and pays them a fair amount per pound, but not more than the price of a pound of fish, so as not to disrupt the fishing industry. Plastic is collected and sorted, with PET plastic being spun into sturdy yarn and woven into bags, with the rest fed into suitable recycling solutions.
“We are an impact-driven start-up whose goal is to bring change to the industry; but more than that, we are a movement and a community,” says Matthias Paisdzior, Head of GOT BAG North America. “We hope what we do inspires more people to choose products that create impact and push the industry in a more positive direction. Because choices make changes.
So far, that’s exactly what they’ve done, as the GOT BAG movement has quickly spread from its starting point in Germany in 2018 to the rest of Europe and the United States. They have amassed quite a few followers worldwide (more than 300,000 on Instagram) and they would like you to be part of the movement too. It’s easy – the next time you go shopping for a backpack, duffel bag, laptop bag or similar accessory, choose a product from GOT BAG and your money will work twice as much: tote reduces plastic of the ocean and the dollars you shell out will also work towards the cleanup.
As for the bags themselves, the material isn’t the only thing to love. They’re well-made and stylish to boot, taking the classic wheeled backpack design and taking it to the next level. The fabric (100% recycled PET, of course) is waterproof, making the bags themselves perfectly capable of protecting your laptop and valuables from unexpected rain and splashes. The roll top is the first and most popular GOT BAG design. Its adjustable design can hold up to 31 liters of gear, it features useful internal and external pockets as well as a removable laptop sleeve to give your devices a bit more protection. And there’s no compromise on comfort either, as a padded back and soft shoulder straps make it one you can wear all day without thinking about it.
GOT BAG has also been partnership with like-minded organizations such as Sea Shepard and SEASPIRACY to produce co-designed bags. Purchasing one of these sends funds directly to the partner organization, supporting other vital work currently underway to save our oceans. GOT BAG has just launched a new collaboration and partnership with Coral Gardeners, to create a unique GOT BAG collection and raise awareness for reef conservation.
The GOT BAG x Coral Gardeners collection consists of three specially designed versions of the iconic black models ROLLTOP, ROLLTOP LITE and HIP BAG.
Coral Gardners is an international collective of advocates, scientists, engineers and creators committed to replanting and maintaining climate-resilient coral reefs around the world.
Two important things will happen with every purchase.
1. GOT BAG recycles up to 7.7 pounds of ocean plastic for each bag.
2. Client will also adopt a coral from Coral Gardner’s adopt-a-coral program.
The collaboration bags are $159 for the ROLLTOP model, $149 for the ROLLTOP LITE, and $49 for the HIP BAG.
“At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal, the same dream and the same vision to have a healthy and beautiful ocean for all the centuries to come. So this collaboration is part of the change, part of the solution, and I am happy that we are launching it,” says Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners.