Sustainability in Energy Gels

Sustainability in Energy Gels

We’ve all seen it and we all hate it - the race course littered with empty gels and other nutrition packets. You get back home from a big activity and empty your pockets that are now filled with wrappers. 

It’s essentially unavoidable if you are fueling properly. All of these fueling products come in some type of packet, and you will be using a large number of them. 

Sports nutrition products pose the problem of single use wrappers. While most endurance athletes love how their sport allows them to see more of our beautiful world, they also feel the impact they make on the environment. 

From a sustainability standpoint, small rip-off tabs and single use wrappers are not great. Thankfully, there are a few brands out there making efforts to be more sustainable; you see it in many different forms. 

A popular route is increasing the amount of gel you can carry. Flow Formulas has a unique take on this with a combination of their Endurance Gel Mix and a reusable flask. They let you “customize” your gel concentration by mixing as much of their Gel Mix together as you’d like. This is all done in their reusable flask, holding up to four gels in one.

Hammer Nutrition and GU Energy take a somewhat similar approach with their Hammer/GU Flask. Instead of buying single gels, you can purchase their gel in 26 or 15 serving bottles/pouches that you portion out in their reusable flask. Theirs will hold up to 5 gel servings. 

GU 15 Serving Pouch     Hammer 26 Serving Jug

Precision Fuel approaches this in a slightly different way, through offering extra-large single serving packets like their 90 gram carbohydrate energy gel with a resealable top. This cuts down on the packaging waste, but poses a user experience issue with the screw-top. They’ve created a bite valve adapter to help with gel delivery, but that is creating more waste and fixes a problem they created. 
Precision Fuel 90G Gels

None of these solutions are perfect; these flasks are a thicker plastic which pose problems of their own. With that in mind, it is a step in the right direction, so we applaud their focus on sustainability.

Other brands such as NeverSecond or Clif Shots tackle the problem of rip-off tabs falling out of pockets or getting dropped while opening at speed. Their packets have a catch tab which keeps the packaging intact, cutting down on accidental littering. They don’t appear to take any further measures toward being sustainable, but this small packaging difference can cut down on plenty of littering.

NeverSecond Energy Gels                  Clif Shot Energy Gels

Science in Sport has made a large effort to be more sustainable through their gel packets being made of recyclable material. SiS allows you to add a free, pre-paid, postage bag to your orders. After your activities, simply collect used gels and place them in this bag. Once full, you’ll send this back to them, and 100% of its contents will be recycled. This does pose potential negative impacts due to the high carbon-footprint associated with shipping the used gel wrappers, but we applaud them for taking some initiative to be sustainable.

Science in Sport Gels

Here at Carbs Fuel, sustainability has been on our mind from the beginning. Today, we are delivering a gel that packs twice as many grams of carbs per gel, when considering the density of most energy gels, which effectively cuts wrapper waste in half from the start. With our product being vegan and produced with a very short ingredient list, we have cut down on our manufacturing footprint as much as possible. While the measures we have taken are a great start, we know we aren’t perfect yet, either.

Our mission is to help more athletes effectively fuel their sport. This is accomplished through our exceptional products and the price-point we offer to consumers. As we grow and become more established in the sports nutrition space, we promise to be socially and environmentally responsible. We vow to continue to improve our manufacturing to make a larger impact on this industry-wide issue. 

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