Kent Sustainable Food & Drink Award 2021 Winner: Goupie
Learn what makes Goupie such a sustainable business
Goupie hand-make a devilishly moreish chocolate confectionery product based on an old family recipe. The business is run by mother-daughter team, Janet and Grace, and is comprised of both a factory unit in Goudhurst and Chocolate House in Tunbridge Wells. Everything made in the factory is vegan friendly, gluten-free and packaged in compostable bags and recyclable kraft boxes.
Goupie has evolved from grandma's treat into 19 unique flavours and two pack sizes, as well as seasonal products such as Easter Eggs and Christmas flavours. They also now produce a range of hot chocolates and other chocolatey goodies, as well as baked goods within their Chocolate House. At the core of all of this is the desire to do business 'right'. From 30 hour working weeks, to ingredients sourcing, to waste management and reduction. Not to mention, making products which taste great (yes, we've won more than one Great Taste Award)!
Goupie's Factory Waste
First of all, it's probably important to go through some of the main ingredients in Goupie, so that we can help you to better understand where the majority of waste is coming from.
1. Chocolate: This comes in card boxes, two 15kg bags to a box. The bags are made from plastic.
2. Toasted Rice: This comes on pallets of card boxes. The rice inside is contained by plastic bags.
3. Cocoa: This comes in paper sacks.
4. Golden Syrup: Comes in 25kg plastic tubs
5. RSPO Segregated Palm Oil: Comes on pallets of card boxes. The palm oil itself is wrapped in plastic.
6. Biscuit: This comes on pallets of small card boxes. Inside the box, the biscuit is contained in plastic bags.
We'll also go through our packaging and the waste associated with this:
1. Goupie Boxes (both small and large): Come in larger card boxes on pallets.
2. Goupie Outer Boxes (both small and large): Come in pallets with no outer packaging.
3. Labels: Come in boxes on rolls of 500. The backing for these labels is glassine.
4. Goupie inner bags: Come in card boxes with a paper sleeve holding them together.
Now, we'd like to take you through how we handle these different types of waste:
1. Card boxes: Any card box which is undamaged is held in our stock room. We reuse these for small trade orders, being transported via courier. On the odd occasion, we may use one of the smaller boxes for your own Goupie order via the website.
For those boxes which are damaged, we collect them up and recycle them.
2. Golden syrup tubs: We keep a small number of these tubs in our factory for use as bins (if you're ever lucky enough to see inside the factory, you'll notice that not one of our bins was paid for!). The rest we donate to the local community.
So far, they've been used for bee keeping, fruit picking, small alcohol production, allotments and animal feed!
3. Glassine label backing: We've tried desperately to source an alternative to this backing, but have been told there simply isn't a solution available on the market at this time (if you know of one, please do get in touch!). We've also contacted the few specialist companies who collect and recycle this waste, only to be told that we're too small to be considered.
Our solution is to reuse this waste as packing material. We either shred, or use the backing whole, for both trade and consumer orders to protect our product. This means that we're not needing to purchase additional virgin material which would be required to do the same job. In fact, we've never bought packing material or additional outer cases - everything you'll receive has always been reused.
4. The plastic bags: The largest of the bags, we reuse as bin liners for the aforementioned golden syrup tubs. The rest goes to our local recycling plant. Our chocolate bags are also great to reuse as grow bags!
5. Pallets: We reuse all the pallets which are left with us, including their corner edging strips and sometimes their plastic covering. On the odd occasion, we'll have surplus. These we've saved for our own home compost bins.
It's pretty difficult to avoid a certain amount of waste if you're producing a product, especially if you have limited resources, but we're pretty pleased that we can get away with just one small trip to the recycling plant every 3 weeks. However, we don't think that this goes far enough.