Walkers Crisps rolls out recycling scheme thanks to public outcry

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Walkers partners with TerraCycle on a recycling campaign. Photo: TerraCycle
Walkers partners with TerraCycle on a recycling campaign. Photo: TerraCycle

Related tags TerraCycle Crisps Recycling

Walkers Crisps has rolled out a recycling scheme with TerraCycle thanks to a public campaign over packaging waste.

It is Walkers' first UK nationwide recycling scheme for crisp (potato chip) packets, where consumers are encouraged to drop off their packets at one of hundreds of collection points​ or via a free post box address or envelope directly to TerraCycle. 

Used crisp packets

Once the packets have been collected, they will be cleaned, shredded and turned into small plastic pellets that will be converted into plastic items, such as benches and fence posts. 

Ian Ellington, GM, PepsiCo UK, said crisp packets are technically recyclable but the issue until now was they weren’t being separated or collected for recycling. 

Our 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​,” he said. 

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.​” 

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

Lauren Cucuron, GM, TerraCycle Europe, said it was delighted to be working with Walkers to launch the UK’s first nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets and hopes other snacks manufacturers follow suit. 

We are thrilled to announce our recycling program for crisps packaging in collaboration with Walkers is now officially launched. You can now drop your empty crisp bags at one of TerraCycle’s UK drop-off points administrated by our community ambassadors​,” she said.


Members of the public brought the issue of recycling Walkers crisps packets to people’s attention in September​ this year, thanks to the hashtag #PacketInWalkers on social media. 

Campaigners shared photos of themselves posting empty crisp (chip) packets to the company to highlight the issue before Royal Mail asked them to stop.

In response, Walkers said at the time it was ‘committed to achieving 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025’ and was carrying out compostable packaging pilots in the US, India and Chile.

It is estimated Walkers Crisps makes around 11 million packets of crisps in the UK every day.

Speaking to BakeryandSnacks, Stephen Clarke, head of communications, TerraCycle Europe, added, it had entered into a multi-year deal with Walkers for the Crisp Packet Recycling Scheme. 

Crisp packets are one of the most frequently asked types of waste that the UK public have traditionally told TerraCycle they would like a recycling solution for​," said Clarke. 

We are delighted the partnership with Walkers now enables us to launch a free way to recycle any brand of crisp packet in the UK​.

We encourage the UK to get behind this free new recycling initiative and tell their friends, family and colleagues to do the same. Already there are more than 250 public drop off locations for crisp packets live on the interactive map on both the Walkers and TerraCycle websites​. 

We encourage people to look for their nearest location and use it if there is one, consider setting up one for your community if there isn’t one in place or sign up as a private collector to collect as a household, business or community organisation​.”

Gary Linnekar

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