Tom Bihn bags: All about the red, white and blue, while being green

Tom Bihn created his first bag when he was 10 years old. Since then, his company has worked to make and ship its American-made bags in an environmentally friendly and energy efficient way.

By Scott Leslie, UPS Upside contributor on 1/30/2013


The brand tag on every Tom Bihn bag reads "Portable Culture," and that's the founder's philosophy. The care labels strongly reinforce this with the Latin phrase "Siquid mantica non capit, domi relinquendum est." Roughly translated, "If it doesn't fit in your bag, leave it behind." But chances are, their extensive product line of backpacks, camera bags, laptop bags and messenger bags will allow you (or your canine pal – dog bags are also available) to tote nearly anything.

Bihn designed and produced his first bag when he was about 10 years old, beginning his mission to make the best bags on the market for people who are always on the go. "For me," Bihn says, "a bag is almost like an icon. You get to put your stuff in there and hit the road, [and] we get to come along on all those trips in a little way."

So what's special about Tom Bihn?  

  1. None of the bags has wheels. The primary reasons are quite simple: Wheels are useful only on smooth surfaces and they (and the requisite associated hardware) add significant weight to bags.
  2. The company's entire line is made in the United States, mostly comprised of American-made materials.
  3. The company's main facility in Seattle runs almost entirely on renewable energy.

Partnering with UPS, Tom Bihn ships every order via UPS carbon neutral. The company pays a little extra to ship the bags, and carbon "credits" are purchased to offset the emissions generated by the shipping process.

Going the extra mile  

Tom Bihn has its shipping and packing materials certified as environmentally friendly in the UPS Eco Responsible Packaging Program. The boxes aren't just made of recycled cardboard. They also are right-sized (preventing use of excess materials) and crush-tested to prevent product damage. This is especially crucial, as there's no environmental benefit if a flimsy package is damaged in transit and requires a replacement shipment.

To learn more about how UPS helped Tom Bihn become more environmentally friendly, watch this video. Or learn more about how logistics can make your business more sustainable.


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