What are the bags made of? Are the bags machine washable?
Yes! Our bags are made from polyester made from recycled materials and are machine washable with cold water and hang dry. Our products are made from 50% recycled REPREVE polyester fibers which are traceable, transparent and certifiably sustainable using post consumer (PET bottles).
Do BlueAvocado bags contain lead?
BlueAvocado's fabric does not contain any detectable levels of lead. Based on September 2010 test reports from SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, BlueAvocado fabric and insulation are lead free and compliant with SGS testing including Prop65 measures which adhere to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act that was enacted in California in 1986 to address growing concerns about exposures to toxic chemicals. BlueAvocado materials are made with Repreve recycled polyester fibers from Unifi which provide an additional level of testing against the Oeko-Tex 100 Standard for Class 1 Criteria which is the most stringent category. Lead consistently tests as none detected. In addition, Repreve's unique UTRUST certification program ensures a clean and traceable waste stream made from plastic bottles and waste yarn. BlueAvocado offers customers two ways to reduce their impact on the planet - by reclaiming waste bottles into useful products and by avoiding hundreds of plastic bags annually. BlueAvocado continues to look for ways to offer safe, sustainable products to inspire and delight their customers.
Our dream for starting BlueAvocado was to empower everyday shoppers to take small steps that make a BIG impact on our environment and the communities in which we live, not just for ourselves – but most important, for future generations.
For us, BlueAvocado is about the marriage of style and sustainability. The avocado stands as a symbol for the green that resides inside each of us. And the blue is evocative of style and simplicity – those traits that make it EASY to grab hold of the movement and bring some joy back into the shopping experience.
The idea behind BlueAvocado is to create lifestyle products that make it easy to do good and ultimately – get it done – IN STYLE.
How did BlueAvocado get started?
Facing the imminent plastic bags bans that were occurring across the country – and specifically in our hometown Austin, Texas – we came together as 3 women – each with different styles and sensibilities to tackle the issue.
We spoke to over 300 people - our family, friends and colleagues to determine what was needed to start to change shopping behavior. What we heard overwhelmingly is that people were tired of having to choose between what was convenient and what was right. To create the ripple we hoped to make, we were told we needed to create something that is cute, convenient and green – hands down.
Ten prototypes later and lots of feedback under our belts, we launched in November with the gor-pakTM – the first fashion-forward grocery system that tackles functionality (produce, insulated, carry-all, and stuff-n-go bags) and collapsibility (all bags fold into themselves as well as the main pak for easy storage – eliminating the clutter). And we have tried to make it fashionable to help people remember their bags. When all is said and done – our hope is that by using this – it brings a little joy back into the shopping experience. And now we have extended our product line into new categories including lunch, travel and storage to create the perfect mix of products to fit any on-the-go lifestyle.
Do you recycle or upcycle old products?
We are currently assessing the best end use of our product. We are performing energy analysis to understand the breakdown of our current materials to be reused in future materials. In the meantime, we encourage several aspects of upcycling to include stripping any aspects of current fabric to be used for future products, donation to local shelters, art co-ops, or you can send it back to us and we'll make sure it's upcycled in the most effective manner to our existing product line or donated to one of our local shelters.
How are these bags different from other reusable bags?
First of all – all of our lifestyle products are part of the gro-pak system. It is a family of bags. Each bag stands on their own and folds up on their own but the beauty of it is that they all fold together and collapse – eliminating the clutter of numerous bags strewn in the back of your car or home.
Also, each bag has versatile handles as well as a "d-ring" or caribiner that allows the shopper to carry multiple bags with the weight distributed evenly for the urban walking consumer or the shopper who likes to bring all of their bags in at once.
Finally, each gro-pak bag is labeled with a carbon footprint label that highlights the impact (both plastic bags and carbon emissions avoided) per trip and per year.
How “green” is BlueAvocado?
It is our vision to avoid 1 billion pounds of CO2 emissions by inspiring our customers with products that make it easy to “do good and get it done.” From our triple-bottom line business model to our ‘One-planet’ sustainability charter to our products and packaging to our Billion Bag Pledge, BlueAvocado is committed to reducing our use of natural resources, avoiding waste and creating social change.
OOur product invites people to take the first step on a green journey. By using our BlueAvocado products, shoppers are able to avoid over 1000 plastic bags annually and nearly 25 pounds of CO2 emissions. Our products are made from 50% recycled Repreve polyester materials which are traceable, transparent and certifiably sustainable using PET bottles.
As part of our commitment to educate and inspire our customers at every opportunity, we have introduced the first carbon footprint label for bags that highlights the impact of the number of plastic bags avoided per trip and per year along with our carbon emissions avoided listed on the label reflects the audited number (provided by Green Mountain Energy) of our entire supply chain. In addition, we provide a carbon footprint for each product. Our hope is that this “nutrition label for the planet” helps to provide a “conversation starter” for people to recognize the linkage between their shopping behavior and the ultimate carbon impact on our planet.
Our working daily assumption is that we have just one planet. And it will take all of us coming together to preserve and protect it for generations to come.
What is the Billion Bag Pledge and who is Schlumpy?
We created the billion bag pledge because the devastating environmental effects of plastic bags are too big to ignore. That’s why Schlumpy, the plastic 8-foot ball too big to ignore, has traveled to cities like Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, and Chicago, to promote awareness and encourage people to take the first step with the pledge.
Where are the bags manufactured?
The bags are manufactured in China. We started our journey over three years ago with an all-organic cotton system manufactured here in Texas. It would have had to retail for over $200. As founders, we came together to make our first major business decision – what was the impact we hoped to achieve through our product offerings? And our belief was that our impact would be greater by getting the system into the hands of many versus those of an elite few.
In China, we have visited the facilities and audited our practices to ensure we meet the country’s environmental, health, safety and labor requirements. China is the largest manufacturer of recycled materials and because of our commitment to providing product with recycled materials, we would have had to have sourced our materials from there, regardless. As we looked at major retailers across the country and their manufacturing partnerships in China, we realized as a start-up of 3 – we must begin there as well. Over the past nine months, our manufacturer has become a trusted partner and collaborator.
That said, we have challenged ourselves and our suppliers to someday create product right here in our backyard. We are seeking the support of retailers interested in making that investment with us.
What is the impact BlueAvocado hopes to make?
Our vision for the company is four-fold:
- Create an impact that makes a ripple - where the acts of one effect the lives of many.
- Empower millions of people to reduce their carbon footprint - because they can
- Take a stand for the planet and leave it billions of pounds lighter in CO2 emissions
- Invest in the dreams and journeys of women entrepreneurs (1% of sales going back to kiva.org)
What has been your impact to date?
- Products help avoid 46 MM disposables from entering the waste stream
- Upcycled 805,000 plastic bottles through our Repreve fabric
- Invest in over 150 women micro-entrepreneurs from Nicaragua to Ghana