Friday, October 24, 2008


These things are pretty cool. We all know how much I love totes, and even though these are made of plastic, I approve. Theres something interesting to me about the motivation to make an existing, wasteful product better and more sustainable. That spirit is pretty evident in the design philosophy of Baggu and I appreciate it. It's a business model that effectively tows the line between outright capitalism and responsibility.

Yeah, their models are hip and cute (and without faces?), but that's just marketing. There's a certain convenience in unsustainability that needs to be countered aggressively and maybe, an effective way of fighting that convenience (or, of accepting the modest inconvenience of sustainability) is by making it cool. I mean, asking people to NOT use plastic bags is not asking for a lot... but really, it is. We're addicted to the ease and mindlessness of the throw-away bag. And that's awfully disgusting. Baggu seems like a good first step in that direction. Now, if only they used cloth instead of plastic, I'd be willing to buy a few.
Upcycle, please!

1 comment:

Emily Sugihara said...

Hi Antonio,

This is Emily from Baggu - I just wanted to address your concern about why we use Nylon instead of cloth. We think it actually makes Baggu greener.

When we designed Baggu, we took into account our product's entire life cycle (manufacturing, use, and end of life). Here's an explanation of the thinking that went into our fabric choice.

First, while nylon is a petroleum product, it is also a cradle to cradle material, meaning it can be recycled indefinitely. Baggu offers a recycling program to our customers. If a bag becomes damaged or worn out, customers can return their bags to us for a $1 credit towards a new Baggu. We collect the bags to eventually be recycled into new nylon.

Secondly, we felt very strongly about providing an alternative to plastic that was affordable and user friendly. A reusable bag is only green if it is actually being used to replace plastic bags. I personally keep three in my purse all the time, and I never, ever have to take a plastic bag, be it at the drug store, buying clothes, etc. Because cotton is not as strong as nylon, a much heavier weight fabric has to be used to carry the same weight load. I could never keep three heavy weight cotton/canvas totes in my purse - they wouldn't fit. People will actually use Baggu bag because of its appeal, its convenient compact size and strength, when they may have found larger cotton totes impractical. The average Baggu replaces 300 to 700 plastic bags every year.

Finally, the way our landfills are built nothing biodegrades. Not even food. All trash is basically sealed together in giant plastic liners to prevent the toxic things (like plastic bags), that are mixed in with the trash from contaminating the ground water. So unless your city has a composting program, a nylon bag in the landfill and a cotton bag in the landfill are exactly the same, only a cotton bag takes up more space.

Hope this explains our decision to use nylon. We're a small family run company, and we weighed the alternatives to come up with what we felt to be the best option. Thanks again for your blog post - it's really great to hear from people who care about the environment so much. This is why we're doing what we're doing!


Emily Sugihara

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