Jo Hand, co-founder of Giki, talks us through the app’s new feature, which allows shoppers to choose items with more sustainable packaging.
Back in February, we interviewed Giki co-founder Jo Hand, and have since been merrily scanning the supermarket shelves to learn more about the sustainability of our everyday products. Now, the app has launched a new ‘badge’ to enable shoppers to learn more about the packaging of the items they’re buying.
The Better Packaging badge is awarded at product level and is an easy way to select products with packaging that helps consumers:
- Use less plastic
- Cut waste going to landfill
- Buy packaging which is fully re-usable and recyclable
In addition, clear information is also a requirement for Giki’s Better Packaging badge as Giki believes companies need to provide clarity to consumers on how to dispose of their packaging.
Over 95%* of UK supermarket products use some kind of packaging, but well under half provide clear instructions on optimal disposal with minimal environmental impact**. In addition, there are thousands of different types of packaging and without clear labelling, it’s very difficult to know how to dispose of it.
The aims of the ‘Better Packaging’ badge
- To reduce single use plastics. Worldwide about one quarter of all plastics are used for packaging. In addition, plastics use has increased twentyfold in the last half century and is set to double again in the next 20 years.
- To cut waste to landfill by reducing demand for non-recyclable materials. In the UK, under half of all household waste is recycled.
- To identify packaging which is fully recyclable and encourage increased recycling rates. Recent government UK figures show 79% of paper and card, and 71% of metal is recycled, but this drops to just 46% with regard to plastic materials. That leaves over half of all UK plastic packaging decaying in landfill, or worse, damaging our natural world as litter which lasts for hundreds of years.
Jo clearly understands the frustrations of shoppers trying to understand the different types of packaging found on shop shelves;
“Anyone shopping in UK supermarkets will have found how hard it is to avoid plastic and to work out the difference between the sleeves, trays, bases, lids, films, cans, bottles and the huge range of packaging used. We aim to simplify this, so we can all see which products use packaging with a lower environmental impact.”
The Better Packaging badge joins 12 other Giki badges on environmental impact, health and animal welfare. In total, Giki rates 280,000 UK supermarket products across these indicators. Information is delivered free via the Giki app.
How are supermarkets doing on the Better Packaging front?
- Just under 1/3 of packaging in Baby, Dairy, Bread and Skin and Hair care use Better Packaging.
- This is significantly higher for kitchen and bathroom products, at just under half.
- In fruit and vegetables, just 15% use Better Packaging and 80% of fruit and veg come in plastic.
So, if you haven’t already, get downloading and scanning, and start making more informed choices about your everyday purchases today.
*This assumes you take your own bags for fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. If you don’t the figure is higher.
** Based on Giki’s database of 280,000 UK supermarket products
About the author: Jo Hand is the co-founder of Giki: The Sustainable Shopping Companion. For more information you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can download the Giki app free on the App Store and Google Play (search for Giki Badges). You can also follow Giki on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.