The CO2 calculations behind our Supermarket campaigns

At The Eco Larder, we are all about providing a plastic free shop that is as local & organic as possible. In the shop, you will find groceries ranging from dried goods such as beans, pulses, rice & pastas to fresh veg, milk, fresh orange juice, cleaning refills and essential toiletries and much more. All plastic free, all planet friendly. It really is a very empowering space to give people the option to make more environmentally friendly choices in everyday life. However, the big elephant in the room is PRICE. 

Although we are a not for profit, we still don’t have the same buying power, streamlined logistics and sheer human resource of the supermarket giants, who far outstrip our mighty team of 4. But, we love a challenge and our goal is to help Edinburgh reduce their plastic waste and this is why we do our best to give you the lowest price we are able to, whilst covering the costs to maintain the shop. 

We want to talk openly about our pricing and for this reason, only 10 months into the running of the shop, we decided to put on our brave pants and actually publically compared our pricing to Sainsburys on Social Media. We looked at both the price to our planet in terms of CO2 emissions and financial price. 

The results were really eye opening! Out of the 16 items compared, we were actually significantly cheaper on 8 items, however, most importantly, the savings in CO2 emissions from packaging were huge! 

But how do we actually calculate the CO2 emissions from packaging?  

There are a few credible sources out there and the one we rely on is from the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP). WRAP’s research gives us a CO2 emissions factor for every gram of plastic waste, which easily allows us to calculate the CO2 emissions from the packaging per product. 

Throughout the year we have actually scrutinised each of our products against average packaging weights from data collected by our volunteers. We will be sharing this data on our first anniversary next month. However for now, we will analyse how we compare to supermarkets. 

You can read the full methodology here.  

After comparing ourselves to Sainsburys last month, we had lots of requests to look into other supermarkets too. And this is where the idea of running a second supermarket campaign has come from. This month, we have chosen three staple products: macaroni, rice & coffee from Lidl, Tesco, Waitrose & Asda. 

So keep a look out over the coming days as both the cost to our purse and planet will be revealed. 


200 Morrison Street



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