Jo Hand, co founder of Giki - a handy mobile app that informs users about the UK supermarket products they buy and the companies they buy from, by awarding badges to products based on sustainability, health and fairness - shares her top 10 tips for living more sustainably.
We believe it should be easy to shop sustainably and we can all reduce our environmental impact one step at a time. If we change some regular habits, we can make a real difference.
Here are some ideas to get started:
Eat plant-based food. Buy a vegetable based salad at lunch. Tasty options include roasted vegetables and pulses, or use tofu to beef up the salad. Giving up meat for plant-based food not only will save you cash, but it will also cut your total carbon footprint by more than 20% (and will save the lives of the animals - Ed).
Lower the impact of your morning coffee. If you go for a cafetière made version, use a plant-based milk (we love oat milk) and coffee which comes in a compostable bag. It is possible - try Percol for example. By doing this you can lower the carbon impact by 20% and massively save on plastic packaging in the form of coffee bags and single use coffee cups - and cost too!
Buy organic fruit and veg for a week. Splash out on some organic vegetables. This reduces the use of fertilisers and pesticides: organic farms have 50% more biodiversity than non-organic ones – much better for the birds and the bees.
Buy products with sustainable palm oil, or no palm oil. Unsustainable palm oil has led to huge swathes of Indonesian rainforest being lost and is pushing animals such as orangutans, elephants and Sumatran tigers closer to extinction. Check on the Giki app if a product contains palm oil and whether it is sustainable. We set a high bar, to give you confidence!
Choose Better Packaging – this means less plastic, less rubbish and more recycling – you can check packaging easily on the Giki app - just scan the barcode and look out for the Better Packaging badge.
Try to buy British, in season, plastic-free fruit or vegetables. This means less air miles and less waste plastic for landfill, but we have found it is actually a pretty tough challenge to find this seemingly straightforward option in UK supermarkets. If this is impossible – tell your supermarket manager, or you might have more luck with a local greengrocer if you are lucky to have one!
Are you planning a UK trip this summer? Try the train instead of the car. If there are two of you, you will emit three times more carbon in the car, than in the train and if you are going solo, you will emit six times as much! By travelling by train you will also get to relax, assuming there are no engineering works of course!
Swap to a green energy tariff. This will cut you electricity carbon footprint by massive 90% and your total carbon footprint by a whole 10%!
Download the Giki app to get informed and know the impact of your UK supermarket products. We also suggest alternatives which have better environmental and health credentials.
Go for a walk – even in a city, there is always a park and here nature can entertain you, free of charge with no environmental impact!
Giki is a social enterprise co-founded by Jo and James Hand in 2017. The Giki mobile app launched on iPhone in May 2018 and on Android in October 2018 and now counts over 280,000 rated products from all major UK supermarket retailers and brands, including own label, with 13 badges, including Low Carbon Footprint, Animal Welfare, Healthier Option and Better Packaging. As of June 2019, the Giki app counts 5,000 monthly active users and 13,000 downloads. Giki’s mission is to encourage sustainable consumption by inspiring people to make small, regular changes in their shopping which are good for them, better for the environment and fairer to others. Visit Giki for more information.