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Campaigners target crisp manufacturer over unsustainable packaging designs

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - 14:57:17

Walkers is the leading manufacturer of crisps nationally, yet all of the 11 million foil and plastic packs of snacks it sells every day are incapable of being recycled, which has drawn criticism from campaign groups.

The Guardian reports that as Walkers increases its output, experts argue that it will contribute 28 billion packets to the ever-growing pile of unrecyclable waste over the course of the next seven years.

By the middle of the next decade, the firm has promised to switch from its current packaging practices and instead adopt alternative materials which are either capable of being recycled, or are suitable for composting.

Representatives of 38 Degrees, a group that investigates eco-issues, said that this deadline would not come soon enough and that the environmental impact of the UK’s crisp obsession would continue to spiral out of control in the interim.

Nine out of 10 adults consume crisps or similar snacks regularly, a study from Mintel revealed. This equates to six billion packets being purchased and discarded each year.

Even the packets which make their way to landfill will then sit there without degrading for untold decades, which is why campaigners argue that action needs to be taken as quickly as possible.

Recycle Now has confirmed that it is not currently possible to recycle any of the packets that Walkers uses for its products. A petition to get it to change its packaging has already gained over a quarter of a million signatures.

The figures alone are daunting and a spokesperson for the firm’s parent company PepsiCo explained that it is investigating a range of alternative packaging options at the moment, with ongoing research and development hopefully leading to significant breakthroughs. For those who see plastic waste as a major global crisis, this work may not be progressing quickly enough.




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