Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by GOT BAG.
It feels like no matter where you go in the world these days, it’s impossible to escape the effects of humankind. Go for a hike in the woods – you’re almost certain to stumble across someone’s name carved in a tree. Walk along the beach – you’ll come across trash. Even in the middle of the ocean, there’s plenty of plastic to be found. The last point is an extremely worrisome one, especially as more and more data is emerging that shows the pervasiveness of microplastics in the environment. There are a ton of different groups out there doing awesome work to aid in cleanup and prevention efforts. One of those is GOT BAG.
GOT BAG was founded in 2016 by German surfer and businessman Benjamin Mandos with the goal of leveraging business solutions to create a positive impact on the environment. The idea: gather ocean plastic and process 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 has been collected and recycled as a result. “I wanted to be part of the solution, instead of the problem,” says Benjamin. “And with our mission, we want to tackle the advancing plastic pollution problem and encourage a more conscious use of natural resources.”
That’s why Benjamin initiated the GOT BAG Ocean Impact Clean-Up initiative, partnering with fishermen in Indonesia, where plastic pollution is rampant. The fishermen often catch plastic in their nets while fishing, so instead of throwing it back or discarding it on shore where it would likely end up back in the oceans anyways, GOT BAG empowers them, takes the plastic off their hands, and pays them a fair amount per pound, but no more than the price of a pound of fish, so as not to disrupt the fishing industry. The plastic is gathered and sorted, with the PET plastic being processed into robust yarn and woven into bags, and the rest being fed into suitable recycling solutions.
“We’re an impact-driven start-up with the goal of bringing change to the industry; but more than that we’re a movement and a community,” says Matthias Paisdzior, Head of GOT BAG North America. “We hope what we’re doing will inspire more people to choose products that create an impact and push the industry in a more positive direction. Because choices make changes.”
So far, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing, as the GOT BAG movement has quickly spread from where it began in Germany in 2018 to the rest of Europe and the U.S.. They’ve amassed quite the global following (over 300,000 on Instagram) and they’d love it if you became a part of the movement, too. It’s easy – the next time you go to buy a backpack, duffel, laptop bag, or similar accessory, choose a product from GOT BAG and your money works twofold: the tote reduces ocean plastic and the dollars you’re shelling out will be working towards cleanup as well.
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 roll-top backpack design and bringing it up a level. The fabric (100 percent recycled PET, of course) is waterproof, making the bags themselves fully capable of shielding your laptop and valuables from rain and unexpected splashes. The RollTop 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 of added protection. And there’s no compromises on comfort, either, as a padded back and soft straps make this one you can wear all day long without thinking about it.
GOT BAG has also been partnering with like-minded organizations such as Sea Shepard and SEASPIRACY to produce co-designed bags. Purchasing one of those sends funds directly to the partner organization, supporting other vital work currently being done to save our oceans. GOT BAG just launched a new collaboration and partnership with Coral Gardeners, to create a unique collection of GOT BAGs and raise awareness for reef conservation.
The GOT BAG x Coral Gardeners collection consists of three specially designed versions of the iconic black ROLLTOP, ROLLTOP LITE, and HIP BAG models.
Coral Gardners is an international collective of advocates, scientists, engineers, and creators determined to replant and nurture climate change-resistant coral reefs around the globe.
Two impactful things will happen with every purchase.
1. GOT BAG recycles up to 7.7 pounds of plastic from the ocean for each bag.
2. The customer will also adopt a coral from Coral Gardner’s adopt-a-coral program.
The collaboration bags cost $159 for the ROLLTOP model, $149 for the ROLLTOP LITE and $49 for the HIP BAG.
”At the end of the day, we’re all working for the same goal, dream, and vision to have a healthy, beautiful ocean for all the centuries to come. So this collaboration is part of the change, the solution, and I’m happy we are launching this,” says Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners.