Santa Cruz Tech Beat

Companies

A Bag with a Story

By Tony Evans
Marketing Intern, Bagito
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat

April 3, 2018 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo above: Contributed. Credit: Jack Leonard)

Reengineering single-use items for multi-use

Single-use plastic bag manufacturing and usage continue to rise throughout the world, creating mountains and oceans of plastic waste. Santa Cruz-based Bagito has set out to bring sustainable, reusable solutions to tackle this problem.

Bagitos are bags with a story. With a background in teaching, founder Mitch Barlas designed a sustainable replacement for single-use bags that also funds K-12 environmental literacy throughout the country and abroad.

Americans on average use 1 plastic bag per day totaling to over 100 billion plastic bags each year. This takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce. While plastic bags are recyclable, it’s not 100% certain that they become recycled or reused. Plastic bags end up in landfills, clog our storm drains, pollute our lakes and streams, and pose a huge problem for the world’s oceans. Plastic requires thousands of years to degrade and is toxic to our earth and groundwater. They endanger both humans and wildlife. Yet, single-use plastic bag manufacturing continues to grow at an alarming rate worldwide. The plastics industry is one of the largest in the U.S. and exists throughout our country. Each plastic bag only costs one penny to produce. We have to be more conscious of the effects of our single-use lifestyle and begin to think about and use multi-use alternatives.

Conceived as a way to support K-12 environmental literacy, Bagitos are premium reusable shopping bags and other reusable products made from rPET (100% recycled plastics) or 100% organic/Non-GMO cotton. Designed to be ultra-convenient and durable, each Bagito sold contributes to their sister non-profit project, Power2Sustain.org

A 100% Sustainable Alternative

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate. It’s the most common recycled plastic in the world. Most plastic containers like water bottles, food packaging, and cosmetics are PET-based. There are seven identifiable recyclable plastics categorized through the Resin Identification Code. The RIC separates plastic products based on the plastic resin which it’s made of. Bagito’s mission is to tackle our worldwide plastic problem with responsibility and awareness. With this in mind, they chose to partner with a conscious, family-run business in China that maintains ethical environmental practices to manufacture both their special rPet fabric and the bags themselves. This company uses all seven forms of plastics in its fabric manufacturing process. This recycling capability is very rare and intensive. Bagito rPET fabric consists of only 100% recycled plastics ranging from RIC 1 – 7.

50% of the plastics used in each Bagito came from California alone

They found strength in numbers throughout their journey. In 2014, Bagito partnered with CalRecycle to trace the origin of their rPET fabric plastics. They discovered that 50% of the plastics used in each Bagito came from California alone. Bagitos essentially close the sustainability loop here at home. In 2016, Bagito also partnered with the U.S. State Department to invite a Korean graduate student as an intern. He concentrated on carbon emissions and carbon capture. Together they developed an algorithm that compares the impact Bagitos have versus single-use bags, focusing on the decrease in plastic usage and carbon emissions per Bagito. The findings were breathtaking. Each Bagito eliminates 25 pounds of plastic from the waste stream and reduces carbon emissions by 500 ppm. Another algorithm also measures the impact of Bagito’s reusable trash can liners. These reusable liners are ahead of their time, easy-to-use and come in three liner sizes. Bagito liners decreased CO2 emissions by 50% when compared to 13-gallon plastic liners. Bagito’s range of products reduce the amount of plastic in our waste stream and shrink our carbon footprint in a meaningful way.

Looking Ahead

Bagito’s design philosophy starts with the essential goal of reengineering single-use items for multi-use. Starting with the shopping bag, Bagito now has six multi-use products which cut single-use waste, lower carbon emissions and reduce consumer costs. They’re busy expanding their product line to provide viable multi-use solutions that are convenient, durable, and sustainable.

Bagitos are useful products with a story. Bagitos are socially responsible, made for a cause, convenient and built to last. Their products support a mission which your colleagues, customers, and communities will love. Keep Bagito in mind for your next branding, retail, or school fundraising effort that will help make a positive difference for our natural world.

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