I really do like almost all the products I get samples of, but occasionally I get one that exceeds my expectations. This bag is one of them.

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I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but from the image, I thought I would get a stiff, green shoulder/side bag that’s greatest quality would be that it is made from recycled plastic bottles (rPET).

As is often the case, a lot happens (at least in my world, no doubt for the rest of the world too) between the initial communications about a review and a sample being sent out and the actual receiving of the sample. That and the fact that my memory is a little shifty sometimes creates a really fun package opening celebration. My family will ask, “Mom, what is it?” And I honestly, usually don’t know, although if I look carefully at most labels, I can figure it out, but I restrain myself, because I love the mystery of not knowing as I marvel at some of the great and not-so-great green packaging people are coming up with these days.

Okay, that was a long setup, sorry . . . when this package came in yesterday, I pretended not to know what it was to enhance the thrill a bit, but when I opened up the recycled paper package, my daughter and I both squealed with delight. First of all the green color on this bag is much better in person. When I liberated it from the packaging, I was struck by how surprisingly soft and pliable the fabric was.

The general design of the bag – lines, pockets, magnet snaps, nice looking zipper tags – was quite thoughtful and not as boring as it could be. I mean, it is a computer side bag, how exciting can this be?

The lining is even softer and brighter in color than the exterior fabric.

My computer seems quite happy in there today, all snug in the padded section.

About rPET Fabrics and Why We Might Care
Act2 GreenSmart’s website is a fairly good resource for information on the process of recycling plastic bottles into fabrics (and other products for that matter). There is an easy-to-follow section about the process of creating rPET fabric particularly as it relates to the fabric they are using, and they also have an informative glossary of sustainable sourcing/manufacturing terms and useful information.

A couple of things I learned from the Act2 GreenSmart website:
•    PET/PETE is Polyethylene terephthalate – recycle symbol #1
•    230 bottles per person go to landfill per year (this adds up folks, according to this site they quantify it by giving us the stat that it is equivalent to filling up the Rose Bowl Stadium in California with crushed plastic bottles every two weeks!)
•    These bottles are an environmental disaster – petroleum-based plastic that does NOT decompose
•    Same chemical composition as polyester – so, same benefits that polyester offers, but from recycled source
•    Each yard of finished fabric uses about 18—16 oz. bottles and saved 10,000 BTUs from manufacturing—enough power to light a 17 watt compact fluorescent light for 15 hours.
Act2 GreenSmart’s Bottles 2 Bags are made from certified 100% post-consumer PET water and soda bottles.
The Act2 GreenSmart website also has some stats on the homepage regarding the global benefits of their products based:
16 oz. PET Bottles Consumed – 431,211
BTUs Saved – 288 million (equivalent power in laptop hours – 3.3 million)
While the price point is a little high @ $69.99 (as listed on online purchasing page), there are many ways to rationalize and justify the slightly elevated cost of using materials that will help reduce some of the landfill mess and use of new petroleum-based products.
They have a range of other products well worth considering as well.