They add a new material made from recycled PET bottles.
We have shown Freitag bags on TreeHugger since we started, because they repurpose the colorful vinyl tarps used on the sides of European trucks. They are solid bags that will last a lifetime, but the fabric is heavy and not very flexible, with no stretch at all. So Freitag is introducing a new fabric that they make from recycled PET bottles.
After more than 25 years, the Zurich bag manufacturers are looking beyond their beloved truck tarps; as rugged and unique as they are, there are certain criteria the tarps simply can’t meet. The ToP products are just as unique as every bag from FREITAG – thanks to the continued inclusion of truck tarps – but also soft, light, and flexible thanks to a textile made from PET bottles dyed with a water saving process.
This allows for a much lighter bag that can open and close with a drawstring, instead of folding over with a big flap (and sealing with very noisy velcro) like my bag.
Freitag bags are an interesting contradiction for this TreeHugger; I love them for their clever design and reuse of old truck tarps, but my bag still has that new car smell two years after I bought it and who knows how many years after the tarps were made, probably from all the phthalates added to soften the vinyl and that leach out forever. It seems odd that I would rail against vinyl in buildings or shower curtains but would happily carry around a bag made entirely of soft vinyl.
I suspect also that their supply may run out in a couple of years, as more and more trailers in Europe are going hard-sided like they are in North America. In a perfect world, they would run out of PET bottles to recycle too, as single-use plastics disappear.
Changing their designs to reduce the amount of tarp is probably necessary for many reasons. Who knows, some day the PET material might become rare too.