How can the Better Packaging badge help me?

Did you know that well over 95%* of all supermarket products use some kind of packaging and although we can all recognise what we buy by brand and price, it’s often much harder to differentiate in terms of the environmental impact of the packaging.  That’s why we’ve created the new Better Packaging badge: packaging materials often look very similar, but in fact vary considerably in terms of impact on the environment.  Giki’s new badge is designed to make it really easy to navigate the UK supermarket plastics, trays, films, polystyrene, tins, cartons, bottles and the hundreds of other types of packaging we come across every day, so we can all easily check whether its better for the environment… or not.

What does the badge cover?

Spotlight on Plastics 

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet showed us clearly the devastating effects of plastic pollution on animals, our oceans and our natural wildernesses and clearly plastics is crucial in packaging.

Worldwide about one quarter of all plastics are used for packaging and only a small amount of this is collected for recycling and re-use. In addition, plastic use has increased twenty times in the last half century and is set to double again in the next 20 years.

For any of us who shop in UK supermarkets, it’s near impossible to go plastic free, so, until it is, we want to make it as practical as possible to cut down on plastics.

Cutting waste to landfill 

In the UK, we recycle under half of all household waste. That means 55% of it goes straight to landfill. As waste decays, landfill emits greenhouse gases which cause climate change. In addition, it can also have impacts in terms of air pollution, reduction in biodiversity, and groundwater pollution too.

 

More recycling 

Recycling facilities vary considerably across the UK, but in total, we recycle 79% of paper and card, and 71% of metal, but this drops significantly 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.

The more we can find and choose packaging that is fully recyclable, the better. That way where plastic is currently unavoidable, we can ensure that any we use is recycled.

 

What does Giki’s Better Packaging badge do for me?

So when the Giki Better Packaging badge is awarded to products you scan in the Giki app, this is what it helps you to do:

  1. Use less plastic
  2. Cut your waste going to landfill
  3. Buy packaging which is fully re-usable and recyclable

In addition, we think it’s really important that companies make it easy for us all to work out what to do with the packaging they provide. There are thousands of different types of packaging and without clear labelling, it’s close to impossible for us all to know what to do with it. So clear information is also a requirement for Giki’s Better Packaging badge.

And of course, less packaging is usually better – do our bananas need to be wrapped in plastic?  The human eye, is much better than any algorithm, or app for judging this one!

Ready to road-test your packaging? 

If you’re keen to cut back on your packaging, download the Giki app and open up your cupboards!

Breakfast cereals is a good place to start because they’re not all the same in terms of packaging (or healthiness for that matter!). While the outer cardboard box is nearly always recyclable, the inner bag varies. You can use the Better Packaging badge to pick out the breakfast cereal packs which are fully re-usable and recyclable.

Sliced bread is also a good one to check. It usually comes in plastic bags, but these can often be recycled in local stores. If they get the Better Packaging badge, take them to your local big store, and it should have a bag recycling point – if it doesn’t, ask the manager why not!

Cleaning products are more likely than many other supermarket aisles to use better packaging. Nearly half of these products do, so the only thing we have do is rinse them out and put them in the recycling.

Happy Scanning and please share with anyone you know who wants to cut their environmental impact and get tougher on supermarket packaging.

*This assumes you take your own bags / cartons for any loose fresh fruit, veg, meat and fish products. If you don’t the figure is even higher for packaging!