Walkers Crisps introduces recycling scheme amid outcry over packaging waste

Company introduces changes following petition signed by over 300,000

Harry Cockburn
Friday 05 October 2018 16:24
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A packet of Walkers crisps believed to be from the 1980s found on a beach this year
A packet of Walkers crisps believed to be from the 1980s found on a beach this year

Walkers Crisps make 11 million packets of crisps a day. That makes for a lot of waste plastic.

Following a petition in which 330,000 people called for action on packaging, the company has announced it will introduce a recycling scheme

It comes after campaigners began posting the packets – a combination of plastic and foil – back to Walkers, causing Royal Mail to issue a plea for people not to send them without envelopes.

From December, people will be able to use envelopes to post empty packets directly to a recycling company for free.

Walkers has also pledged to make all their packaging 100 per cent recyclable or biodegradable by 2025.

Geraint Ashcroft from Pontypridd, who started a petition calling for Walkers to take action, and which amassed more than 330,000 signatures, said: “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 their pledge of making their packaging fully recyclable, compostable or biodegradable.”

Walkers said its packets are technically recyclable, but until the scheme begins they are not separated or collected for recycling.

The company said its partnership with recycling firm TerraCycle was "the UK's first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets", and any brand of crisp packets – not just Walkers – would be accepted.

The recycling firm will clean and shred the packets before turning them into plastic pellets to be reused in other plastic products.

David Babbs, executive director of website 38 Degrees, which hosted the petition, said: “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.”

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