Walkers launch UK’s first crisp packet recycling scheme after public call to action

Walkers launch UK’s first crisp packet recycling scheme after public call to action

08 Oct 2018 --- PepsiCo's Walkers brand is set to launch the UK’s first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets. Consumers will be encouraged to either drop off their packets at one of the hundreds of public access collection points that will be developed all around the country or alternatively post them for free directly to TerraCycle for recycling. The move comes after intense public pressure for Walkers to address the volume of plastic waste generated through its packaging.

Under the scheme, developed in partnership with the recycling company TerraCycle, all crisp packets will be accepted. Once the packets have been collected they will be cleaned, shredded and turned into small plastic pellets which will then be converted into useful plastic items, such as benches and fence posts.

The new recycling scheme will be up and running from December this year and full details of exactly how it will work and locations of the nationwide collection points will be announced nearer the time.

Walkers’ long-term ambition is to make all of its packaging 100 percent recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025. It is focusing significant resource on developing the technology and infrastructure to make this happen.

Crisp packets are technically recyclable; the issue until now has been that they weren’t being separated or collected for recycling. Walkers’ investment is making this possible for the first time, the brand says.

Ian Ellington, General Manager of PepsiCo UK says: “We share people’s concerns about the amount of plastic in our environment and are working on a number of both short and long-term solutions to reduce the impact of our packaging.”

“Our new Walkers recycling initiative starts to tackle this issue right now by repurposing used crisp packets to create everyday items such as plant pots and benches. We hope people will embrace this idea and join us in ensuring crisp packets are recycled.”

“We’re determined to crack this in the long term and have a number of initiatives underway to create the right materials and environment for the crisp packets of the future,” he adds.

Laure Cucuron, General Manager, TerraCycle Europe, comments: “We’re delighted to be working with Walkers to launch the UK’s first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets. We hope other snacks manufacturers will follow suit, by investing in new ways to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfill and incineration.”

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It is estimated that Walkers produces 11 million crisp packets a day

Consumer-driven sustainability
Prior to the announcement of a new recycling scheme, Walkers had been subject to intense public scrutiny in the form of a petition with over 330,000 signatures calling for action to reduce the negative environmental impact of the brand’s plastic crisp packets.

Campaigners highlighted their concerns by posting plastic and foil packets back to Walkers, consequently forcing Royal Mail to issue a plea for the packaging to be sent in envelopes.

Founder of the petition, Geraint Ashcroft, says of Walker’s new recycling scheme: “Today’s announcement by Walkers is really exciting, and I hope other snack companies get on board.”

“This is a great first step and makes all the work that's gone into the petition worthwhile. But Walkers still have a lot to do to meet its pledge of making its packaging fully recyclable, compostable or biodegradable,” he adds.

Executive Director of website 38 Degrees, David Babbs, which hosted the petition, said in a statement: “We’re delighted to hear that Walkers will now be recycling used crisp packets. It’s proof that public pressure can shift big companies to do more to prevent waste. Over 332,000 people signed this petition, and it’s their voices that have made a huge, multi-national company listen.

“But let’s not forget that there’s still more for Walkers to do if they want to keep the public on side. The public will be watching to make sure that the new recycling scheme isn’t just a PR stunt. And most importantly, they have to make their crisp packets fully recyclable far sooner than 2025,” he concludes.

Edited by Joshua Poole

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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