Tentree has created the world’s first eco-progresive backpack, and frankly, it’s a brilliant addition to the travel and backpacking community.
Mobius launched on Kickstarter just last week, and its $35, 000 goal was reached within the first hour of launch. It’s easy to see why – “there are a lot of backpacks on the marketplace, but ultimately none that use a variety of materials that are recycled, up cycled or helping to actually keep the environment clean,” says Sasha Bricel, marketing manager at Tentree.
Mobius has all of the same features you’d find in any Osprey or Deuter bag – a discreet water bottle holder, laptop and compartmentalized sleeves, roll top AND zipper openings, padded back and shoulder straps, even a chest strap for added support. It does not, however, have a waist strap, but with three different sizes and a maximum 35-liter capacity, it’s more ideal as a day pack or for lighter travel, anyway.
Mobius’ innovative use of sustainable practices and materials make up for it’s strap flaw, though. The backpack’s padding is made of BLOOM®, the world’s first plant-based performance-driven foam formulated with algae biomass. “This foam is not only better for the environment,” Sasha explains, “but also offers a variety of strong performance benefits that include prolonged resilience, reduced weight and hypoallergenic properties. The increase in algae biomass is an epidemic in the United States, so harvesting it to create this product is helping to keep waterways safe.” For each Mobius backpack made with BLOOM, 293 bottles of filtered water is returned to the environment, and 27 balloons of CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere.
Mobius is also made with REPREVE®, an innovative fibre made out of recycled plastic bottles. 31, in fact, make up each Mobius backpack, and Unifi, the makers of REPREVE, have recycled over 10 billion plastic bottles since their launch. That’s enough energy saved to power 95, 000 homes for one year, just by re-purposing plastic bottles to create practical products such as the Mobius. Compared to a backpack made with virgin polyester, Mobius’ manufacturing used 45% less energy, 20% less water, and 30% less CO2.
So, how exactly does Mobius’ manufacturing process have a lower environmental impact than others in the textile industry?
Sasha says that it starts with the materials. First off, the industry needs to slow down the dependence of virgin materials, and instead consider using materials that are already existing. Hence Mobius’ use of recycled plastic bottles, pond algae, and post industrial waste. “We are slowing down this dependence,” Sasha explains. “The amazing thing about BLOOM foam is that we are doing exactly that, but at the same time solving and restoring an environmental issue – its’ a win-win all around.”
Second, by using a kickstarting platform, companies are able to gauge interest in the product before committing to a production run. “It’s unsustainable/hypocritical for both tentree’s philosophy and the planet to waste resources, materials and shipping on a production run that could ultimately fail,” Sasha explains. “We strongly believe that all brands should be using a kickstarting platform to prevent pulling unnecessary resources from the planet on unwanted products. Better, longer lasting products are more sustainable than continuous redesigning just for the sake of it.”
So if a ‘minnow’ company like Tentree can create a sustainable backpack, why aren’t the leading brands doing the same?
Sasha hypothesizes that it’s just due to laziness and greed. “Other companies just don’t care to make it work. They hear that the cost is a bit higher than regular, non-environmentally friendly products, and that’s enough to give up. Other companies’ values are not the same as ours, so it’s easy for them to move on. The goal with the Mobius is to inspire these brands that anything is possible, and you can still make a sustainable, cost effective product. We hope that we can motivate other companies to start asking these questions and to start using the materials we are.”
Tentree’s not wrong. There is plenty more pond algae, plastic bottles and post consumer waste on the planet that could be used in products for consumers, such as a backpack. Sasha says it right: “If more brands could use the same materials [tentree does], the more affordable and accessible they will be for everyone.” Reducing environmental impact in the industry is a matter of corporate greed, not accessibility. By supporting brands like Tentree and eco-progressive products such as the Mobius, it will encourage larger companies to switch up their methods, and help pave the way towards sustainable industries.
Tentree started as a clothing company who vowed to plant ten trees for every product purchased. Now, with an incredible innovation and impressive consumer support, they’re pushing their eco-goals even further, and are focused on becoming the most environmentally progressive company on the planet. They’re still planting trees for every item sold, but are now pushing the boundaries of sustainable design through the use of innovative materials, such in the case of the Mobius.
For more information on the Mobius backpack and access to exclusive discounts, check out their Kickstarter page here. Mobius is expected to be in the hands of supporters by March 2019.