Focus: Consumer Goods
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Kite surfing and sailing are generally considered environmentally friendly sports. They use the wind to power their activities rather than an engine that pollutes both air and water. However, the gear these sportsmen and women use is made from fossil fuels and is not biodegradable. Much of it ends up in landfills, taking up space and leaching chemicals into the soil.
With a great idea of how to reuse sails, Mafia Bags was born. Brother and sister team, Marcos and Paz, started the company in Buenos Aires in 2012. As a kite surfer, Marcos saw the beautiful kites and sails going to waste when they became just a little too old to use. He began collecting and storing them so that they wouldn’t be sent to a landfill. Mafia Bags uses creative design as well as a socially and environmentally responsible business model to turn used kites and sails into unique products. Individuals with old kites and sails that would otherwise be thrown out can donate them to be turned into something new. For each donated sail, Mafia Bags creates one of its unique products free of charge from the sail’s material (to donate your sail email firstname.lastname@example.org). They use the colorful materials to create one-of-a-kind tote bags, backpacks, duffle bags and other accessories. Fashioned from sturdy canvas, these bags are made to last a lifetime, so they avoid the waste that would have been produced by comparable products that fall apart and are thrown out.
The company has done well in South America, selling their high quality products in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and Chile. In July, 2014, they completed a Kickstarter campaign, which provided funding for a new branch in San Francisco to begin producing and selling their products in the US. In addition to being environmentally friendly, Mafia Bags also has a social conscious, and teams up with nonprofit organizations to provide jobs for people struggling to reenter the labor force. With their high quality standards, beautiful design and positive impact, Mafia Bags has convinced me where to buy my next bag. How about you?
Environmental Impact: Reduced landfills
Measurement: Mafia Bags
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