Countries around the world have experienced a shortage of hand sanitizer due to increased demand with the spread of COVID-19. In some scenarios however, there is indeed sanitizer available, and scarcities have been linked to the actual containers it comes in as opposed to the product itself. With that in mind, two Japanese companies – one that produces sanitizer and one that produces packaging for sushi – have joined forces to repurpose the miniature fish-shaped bottles.

A joint effort by Ohishiya and natural antibacterial agent manufacturer Clear Electron, the project #SafeHandFish saw extra fish that are normally used in bento boxes being filled with hand sanitizer to promote hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak.

How To Use Safe hand fish
How to use #SafeHandFish © #SafeHandFish

“In response to the UN’s call for creative coronavirus preventative measures, a-dot reached out to hand sanitizer and container and bottle companies for ideas. The project has become a hot topic on social media and in news both in Japan and overseas. People and companies have expressed their support for the product,” a representative of marketing company a-dot told Lonely Planet. 

a-dot also said that the scheme aimed to repurpose already made plastic bottles as opposed to creating anything new. “The bottles used for the product come from a surplus of bottles that are not being used, due to the cancellation of events, where they are normally used. Therefore, there is actually no new plastic being produced, rather, unused plastic bottles are being put to a different use.”

SafeHandFish Sanitzer
The company has repurposed already-made bottles © #SafeHandFish

The iconic red cap on the fish has been replaced with a blue one as a symbol of cleanliness and to echo the colour of the United Nations. #SafeHandFish will be provided for free to restaurants and delivery businesses that are in high demand. According to the companies, one fish is sufficient to sterilise your hands and eating area before a meal. 

The fish are filled with a natural antibacterial disinfecting agent made by mixing purified water with a grapefruit seed extract. It neutralizes viruses, bacteria, mould, and is considered as a food additive under the Food Sanitation Law.

Keep up to date with Lonely Planet's latest travel-related COVID-19 news here.

Read more: 

Germans are 'fishing' for baguettes at closed French border

Tuscany’s truffles have been enjoying a healthy break and rebirth as a result of coronavirus

Explore related stories

Boatman punting the boat at river. Arashiyama in autumn season along the river in Kyoto, Japan.; Shutterstock ID 769274452; purchase_order: Online Editorial; job: 65050; client: Bailey Freeman; other: Best things to do Kyoto


15 best things to do in Kyoto

Jan 25, 2024 • 9 min read