Our new product labels allow you to see the main product features at a glance. I had the idea after reading an article about carbon footprint labels for food and my subsequent dilemma at the supermarket. Regarding the carbon label, the idea is to inform customers about the environmental impact of their food choices. A label would show the greenhouse gas emissions associated with making the product, so that consumers can choose low-carbon options. Regarding my dilemma at the supermarket, I have coined it the ‘Courgette Dilemma’.
The Courgette Dilemma
During one of our weekly supermarket trips, my husband and I wanted to add a courgette to our shopping basket. To make shopping easier and quicker, I have already established two rules:
- Buy British and avoid plastic when the produce is in season;
- Buy organic produce (which often comes in plastic packaging) when the produce comes from abroad.
Concerning the courgette, I would have follow my second rule and choose the organic courgette wrapped in plastic, as both courgettes came from Spain. However, this is when I realised that I had no idea which of the options had the lower environmental impact. A label could have made this decision much easier!
Eco Zeena’s Product Labels
My new product labels will hopefully help you find what you are looking for more easily. If a product appeals to at first glance, you can always find more details in the product descriptions. Whilst I hope that the labels are self-explanatory, let me briefly explain them to you:
- REUSABLE: The product / packaging is not single-use and can be reused many times. At the end of its useful life it may be recycled or composted. Look out for the RECYCLABLE and COMPOSTABLE label.
- PLASTIC FREE: The product is completely plastic-free!
- NATURAL: Natural ingredients and / or materials were used to make the whole or part of the product. Look out for the PLASTIC label if it contains unnatural materials.
- ORGANIC: All or some ingredients or materials are organic.
- HANDMADE: The product is handmade and thus unique!
- RECYCLED: The product contains recycled materials.
- RECYCLABLE: The whole product, or at least parts of it, is recyclable at the end of its useful life.
- COMPOSTABLE: The product, or parts of it, is compostable at the end of its useful life.
- VEGAN: The product doesn’t contain any animal products.
- CRUELTY-FREE: The product has not been tested on animals.
- PLASTIC: Part of the product is made from plastic as there is currently no better alternative.
- MADE IN THE UK: By buying this product you are supporting another business in the UK.
- DONATION: The company makes a financial or product-based donation that supports a good cause when one of the products is bought.
The number of labels on any one product is partly a reflection of the complexity of the product, i.e. many different ingredients / materials, and partly of the company values.
For example, products from Zero Waste Path Shop and Georganics have the most labels. In both cases, the products consists of a number of different ingredients and materials. Both companies are also committed to being zero waste and avoiding plastic, which makes their products completely natural and their packaging completely recyclable and compostable.
The toothbrushes from Eco-bru and the purses from Thamon contain plastic. In the case of Eco-bru, nylon bristles are still the best option for toothbrushes. Thamon creates vegan and cruelty-free lifestyle products made from real leaves. Synthetic leather made from plastic is the best alternative to genuine leather when a slightly tougher material than leaves is necessary. However, the plastic (PU leather) used by Thamon has a lower environmental impact than PVC, which is also commonly used as vegan leather.