In early 2004, I took a trip to the local landfill after spending the day landscaping my backyard. I was horrified by how many single-use bags filled the scene. Plastic bags blanketed the landscape in a thin mix of white and beige plastic.
On my way home, I continued to notice plastic bags everywhere; caught in trees and on fence posts, half drowned in gutter puddles and blowing in the streets like urban tumbleweeds. I vowed to stop using single-use bags for good. Inspired, I dropped a few bucks on a secondhand sewing machine and began sewing what would ultimately become the first ChicoBag brand reusable bag.
- Andy Keller
At ChicoBag, our mission is to help humanity bag the single-use habit. We mean the wasteful, throw-away habit that overflows our landfills and clogs our oceans. We do this by advocating for waste reduction and designing the highest quality, longest lasting reusable bags.
We partner with organizations, businesses, and schools who share our mission by co-branding our bags and a curated collection of other quality reusable alternatives to single-use waste.
We offer products that empower people to take an active role in solving the single-use problem. At ChicoBag, we make bagging the single-use habit easy.
We always strive for the holistic win, win, win - where all parties, including our Earth are considered. We communicate openly with our customers, partners and with each other. We seek first to understand, then to be understood. We are proactive, courageous and start with the end in mind. We measure what is important. We say only what we mean. We don’t make assumptions and we find the courage to ask questions and to express what we really want. This type of communication leads to open and honest relationships that allow for the needs of each party to be met.
We strive to leave the planet better than we found it. When waste does not become food for another system; natural or otherwise, it becomes pollution. We are committed to continually creating efficiencies that eliminate waste in all aspects of our business. We walk the talk and simply refuse the big 4 (single-use plastic bags, single-use water bottles, single-use cups and polystyrene take-out). We value efficiency, durability, innovation and quality. We always strive to do our best, and acknowledge that we will make mistakes. We will never let a mistake go to waste - always improving, always learning, always being the change we wish to see in the world. We believe this is good for our businesses, good for the people whose lives we touch and good for the planet.
We have implemented an office recycling program to eliminate waste wherever possible. The average American contributes over 130 pounds of waste to a landfill per month – with our program that we have in place, the entire ChicoBag office contributes less than 30!
All leftover food scraps go into our compost pile that is managed by our office pets - a flock of chickens! The food "trash" stays out of the landfill and the eggs that they produce creates a win-win situation!
The average person uses 2,400 – 3,000 paper towels at work, in a given year. At ChicoBag each employee has their own hand towel in the restroom and cloth napkins available in the break room which eliminates the need for additional paper waste.
Supporting our community by giving back is at the core of who we are. From local park cleanups to serving meals to those in need, we actively support like-minded organizations that believe in leaving the planet a better place than we found it.
Closing the loop on our product lifecycle is important to us. Our pay it forward program allows us to donate reusable bags to fixed and low income families ready to start a reusable bag habit, or recycle them into new useful products through partnerships with artists, crafters and non-profit organizations.
We believe that nothing that is used for a moment needs to last a lifetime. All ChicoBag employees pledge to refuse "The Big 5" (single-use bags, cups, utensils, bottles and straws). To reduce our impact we use reusable containers and snack bags when we pack our lunches, and bring our own take-out containers when we go out! It does take some adjustment and planning, but it’s well worth the effort.
ChicoBag has formed many partnerships with organizations who share our vision of helping humanity solve the social and environmental challenges ahead. Now more than ever it is imperative we work together toward common goals. We support these organizations by providing product donations, financial resources and educational materials that help them achieve their missions. Large or small, we know these organizations are outstanding and hope you do too.
For the last 30 years, Surfrider Foundation has been dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our worlds oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful volunteer- activist network. Learn more about Surfrider here.
5 Gyres is working to restore healthy, plastic-free oceans. They are at the forefront of aquatic research and legislation to create awareness of ocean plastic pollution. Learn more about 5Gyres here.
ChicoBag is a proud member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals and the environment. Learn more about the PPC here.
Bioneers is a nonprofit educational organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and the planet. Bioneers are an emerging culture of social and scientific innovators who are mimicking nature's operating instructions to serve human ends while enriching the web of life. ChicoBag has partnered with Bioneers to ensure the reusable bag movement moves forward with some of the most progressive and innovative minds of our time. Learn more about Bioneers here.