Crisp manufacturers Walkers has announced a free national recycling scheme after consumers urged it to change its plastic packaging, according to The Guardian.
A social media campaign asking the brand to make its packaging recyclable led to Royal Mail issuing a plea to the public to put empty crisp packaging in an envelope before posting them back to the company. Previously, people had been putting empty crisp packets into post boxes.
Walkers has been accused of adding to plastic waste littering in the streets and oceans by producing more than 7,000 non-recyclable crisp packets per minute.
From this, the PepsiCo owned company has revealed a nationwide recycling scheme starting in December.
Crisp eaters will be able to deposit empty packets, regardless of the brand, at hundreds of collection points or post them in a box or envelope for free to the recycling firm TerraCycle.
The Government-funded body Recycle Now said that no packets are currently recyclable and should be put in the general waste bin rather than the recycling bin.
However, Walkers has that crisp packets are “technically recyclable, but the issue until now has been that they weren’t being separated or collected for recycling”.
It said that the collected packets would be cleaned, shredded, turned into small plastic pellets and then made into other plastic items such as plant pots and fence posts.
Speaking to The Guardian PepsiCo UK general Manger Ian Ellington said: “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.”
More than 332,000 people signed a petition on the 38 Degrees website asking Walkers and other manufacturers to change the materials they use to recyclable alternatives.
38 Degrees executive director David Babbs said: “We are delighted to hear that Walkers will now be recycling used crisp packets. It is proof that public pressure can shift big companies to do more to prevent waste. But let’s not forget that there is still more for Walkers to do if they want to keep the public on side.
“The public will be watching to make sure 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.”