The cloud bag and Baggu as a whole seem to be making a significant effort to make a product with as little of an environmental impact as possible, but increased transparency around production and manufacturing is needed. The company’s mission to make reusable alternatives for disposable plastic bags is a positive one, but improvements can be made as far as materials and production go. The durability and recycled content of the bags are a positive though, and clean/basic design ensure that these bags do not play into trend cycles and will be wearable for a long time. I can personally attest to this bag’s durability and have used it as my everyday bag for over a year, throughout which it has survived spills, dirt, heavy loads, and more without so much as a loose thread. While there are still improvements to be made Baggu products are definitely something I would recommend to a friend.
The cloud bag is made of recycled heavyweight nylon. This is made up of 59% recycled nylon and 31% non-recycled nylon. Baggu claims that their small size as an independent company makes 100% recycled nylon textiles (of the appropriate quality) unaffordable for them right now, as custom developed recycled nylon textiles increase in price as the percentage of recycled materials used increases. They do still claim to be striving to meet that 100% recycled mark as it becomes more affordable. While nylon is a synthetic material derived from crude oils, it is one of the better choices when it comes to synthetic polymers because of its extreme strength and durability, which allow for the bags to last for a long time. It is also machine washable, which further extends the bags lifecycle by allowing it to be used even after spills/stains. Nylon is still synthetic though, so its production (or at least the production of the 31% of the non-recycled nylon in the cloud bag) will require the use of crude oil, and have a significant energy and water-usage footprint.
The cloud bag specifically is made of a heavyweight nylon (rather than baggu’s regular nylon) making it more durable. Baggu claims that they “design for longevity” and this is a positive as it extends the bags use. Baggu also claims to use waste-minimizing cutting techniques in an effort to avoid textile waste, but it is unclear if this is just for their standard baggu cut or for every item they sell. All of Baggu’s products are made in China with ISO 9001:2015- and ISO 140001-certified manufacturers, meaning that there is some oversight on the environmental impact and working conditions for those making the bags. They claim to find use for all of their dead-stock fabric with their no-incineration policy, and have a recycling program with the American Textile Recycling Service for bags at the end of their life cycle. The overseas-manufacturing adds to the carbon footprint of this bag, and Baggu makes no statements about their carbon emissions or what they are doing to lessen them. Increased transparency in this area would have helped me give the cloud bag a higher planet rating in this section, and because of all of Baggus other environmental efforts I believe they probably do have a reactively low carbon footprint compared to similar, less environmentally focused companies, but more concrete reports and goals for improvement are needed.
This bag is manufactured in China in companies with the aforementioned ISO 9001:2015- and ISO 140001-certifications. That means that factories are audited to ensure that workers/production is being treated in the proper manner. This certification seems somewhat trustworthy, because it does require constant auditing by an independent body to be upheld, and the cost for certification is not extremely high. Baggu’s Code of Conduct requires fair/livable wages, compliance with national working hours and paid overtime, health and safety protection, freedom to unionize, freedom from discrimination and more. The Baggu production team also makes yearly visits to their manufacturers to ensure that production and conduct requirements are being met and to meet the teams working on the bags. They do not publicly disclose who or where specifically these manufacturers are.