Not just any bag | Lifestyle News,The Indian Express

“Plastic just isn’t going anyplace anytime quickly,” mentioned Alex Dabagh, who two years in the past began the corporate aNYbag, its title a play on the ubiquity of plastic luggage and an ode to his hometown, New York City.
In kitchens the world over, usually there’s a plastic bag filled with different plastic luggage. In Dabagh’s manufacturing facility in Chelsea, totes are woven from plastic luggage.
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The sight of all of the single-use plastic luggage that got here by means of the doorways of his major enterprise, Park Avenue International, a 6,000-square-foot leather-based items manufacturing facility that makes a speciality of producing purses for manufacturers together with Gabriela Hearst, Altuzarra, Proenza Schouler and Eileen Fisher, grew to become an excessive amount of.
“I used to be like, we’ve bought to do one thing with it, there’s bought to be a greater approach,” Dabagh, 40, mentioned. “If we are able to weave leather-based, there’s bought to be a option to weave plastic.”

He broke down the baggage, warmth sealed them into lengthy strands, cued them up on certainly one of his looms and, after a number of months of trial and error, got here up with the aNYbag prototype that was proven at ReFashion Week NYC in February 2020, which was inside weeks of New York state’s plastic bag ban.
Plastic getting lower into strips for weaving along with cotton twine to create Anybag totes. (Graydon Herriott/The New York Times)
Dabagh is aware of that regardless of the ban, there are nonetheless loads of plastic luggage in circulation. “The recycling firms don’t need them as a result of all they do is clog their machines, trigger hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in damages yearly — stoppage time, damaged machines, clogging the incinerators,” he mentioned.
At the start of aNYbag, he was sourcing from family and friends. His mom struck up a take care of a neighborhood grocery store in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to gather its luggage. He began calling native Home Depots and CVS branches to get their lifeless inventory luggage, and he fashioned partnerships with native colleges to gather luggage in drop-off bins.
Dabagh estimated that final yr aNYbag collected 12,000 kilos of plastic, the equal of about 588,000 single-use plastic luggage. The firm strips every little thing down, cleans it and disinfects it.
“It’s loopy how a lot virgin plastic we get in right here from transport firms, packaging firms or a demo firm,” Dabagh mentioned. “They’ll go right into a constructing to scrub it out and be like: ‘We just discovered these packing containers and piles of plastic that haven’t been separated. Do you need them?’ I’m like, ‘I’ll take it, that’s gold.’”
A sustainable mindset was instilled in Dabagh by his father from a younger age. Pierre Dabagh opened Park Avenue International in 1982 as a younger immigrant who had fled Lebanon within the late Seventies throughout the nation’s civil warfare. He arrived in New York with $300 and began working at a manufacturing facility owned by a Korean household on thirtieth Street, Dabagh mentioned, the place he discovered the leather-based commerce earlier than opening his personal store.
Well conscious that the leather-based trade has a lower than pristine popularity in terms of sustainability, Dabagh mentioned his firm labored with Italian tanneries that adhered to strict laws and used leather-based that was purely byproduct. All of the leather-based scraps at Park Avenue International are collected and repurposed for reinforcement, backing and bonding within the firm’s wares.

Anybag founder Alex Dabagh at his manufacturing facility, Park Avenue International. (Graydon Herriott/The New York Times)
“Every shelf has scraps of leather-based that we just acquire,” Dabagh mentioned. “We don’t throw something out. It’s one thing I discovered from my father. He was like: ‘This is all value cash. There is worth behind every little thing.’”
At the beginning of the pandemic, when Park Avenue International’s core leather-based enterprise slowed down, Dabagh determined to double down on aNYbag. He skilled his 40 staff to make use of the looms to weave plastic luggage out of trash as an alternative of leather-based items. “I used to be like, ‘We’re going to do this out,’” he mentioned. “They all thought I used to be loopy.”
Two years later, aNYbag is roughly 10% of Park Avenue International’s enterprise. Dabagh mentioned that income from the baggage tripled within the final yr. He acquired a brand new loom devoted solely to weaving plastic for aNYbag, and is growing automated looms that may enable him to quadruple output and lower prices.
His employees can weave 5-7 yards of plastic a day, which makes about 20 totes. Each bag is sturdy, with a crinkly texture that may maintain as much as 100 kilos. They’re trimmed in colourful canvas with canvas straps in pink, fluorescent yellow, royal blue and black. The luggage include a lifetime assure — the plastic will outlive us, in any case — and free repairs.

The luggage are offered on the corporate’s web site. There are three types, the Classic, the Mini and the Weekender, from $98 to $248. The Classic and Mini are formed like typical procuring totes; the Weekender is akin to Ikea’s well-known Frakta shopper. Dabagh has teamed with Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Beyond Meat and Miranda Kerr’s cosmetics line, Kora Organics, customizing luggage for media occasions and for the manufacturers’ personal inner use. But for essentially the most half, a typical aNYbag is created from no matter is round: plastic from packages of Bounty or Cottonelle, or luggage used to wrap DHL shipments or copies of The New York Times.
“We’re slowly realizing we’re a recycling firm,” Dabagh mentioned. With extra funding, he sees a possibility to scale up and develop hubs round New York City, and finally the nation. But for now, aNYbag is a proudly native operation.
As Dabagh mentioned, “It’s all handmade, handcrafted by New Yorkers, in New York, utilizing New York City’s best trash.”
This article initially appeared in The New York Times.
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