Walkers’ Recycling Success Story
Over the past three months, Walkers have had over half a million used crisp packets returned to their company as part of their new recycling scheme, according to the company itself. This scheme was first announced in December in a campaign to introduce eco-friendly packaging with the help of local communities.
Why they started the campaign
The company’s crisp packets are made from a combination of plastic and aluminium foil that isn’t acceptable for recycling within most regional councils, though can still be recycled with the right handling.
Because of this and with the necessity for more businesses to reduce waste, Walkers brought matters into their own hands by encouraging customers to send their used packets back to the manufacturer through a free postage service.
This campaign attracted so much attention that the Royal Mail had to appeal to the public to seal the abundance of packets in envelopes to avoid mass disruption in the mail sorting system.
Despite this having been something that was only publicly announced in December, Walkers has had this idea of a recycling scheme in place ever since January 2018, through their partnership with the recycling company TerraCycle.
Who are TerraCycle?
If you’ve kept up to date with some of our previous blog posts, you may know that TerraCycle is a recycling company, that have partnered with several companies aside from Walkers. Hovis and KP Snacks are the two most prominent companies that have entered TerraCycle’s plan- to have as many businesses as it can improve the recyclability of their products.
TerraCycle had a similar method when it came to handling KP Snacks and Hovis’ waste, in which the companies would set up public collection points and TerraCycle would shred the plastics for reuse in outdoor furniture or plastic lumber.
TerraCycle’s push for further reuse of materials is due to new government consultations that plan to drastically increase the return of plastic containers to their manufacturers and their reuse, with there having been near no increases in national recycling rates for several years.
If Britain plans to compete with major players in Europe’s overall recycling innovation such as Germany and the Netherlands, it’s clear major changes to the system are needed.
The extent of eco-friendly Walkers
It isn’t only their own packets Walkers are accepting for their recycling scheme, but those of any company’s crisps. Much like with the other allies of TerraCycle, the packets are cleaned before being shredded and turned into plastic pellets for reuse in a variety of plastic items.
The collection points for these crisp packets have grown to over 8,500 across the UK as of now. Though most individuals and collectives tend to drop off only single bags, many are now making large collections to bring in thousands of packets at once.
A recycling worker in North Lancing, West Sussex named Sue Welfare is the biggest contributor thus far, having sent nearly 50,000 packets thus far. According to Walkers, this is enough to produce 25 plastic benches from the reuse of these plastics.
TerraCycle’s next steps
As of 18th March 2019, TerraCycle have started a new national initiative after seeing their success with Walkers.
Their new target is the plastic ring carriers used to hold multi-pack cans together used in products such as beer or lager cans. These have been a constant source of environmental hazards for years, with it being responsible for killing a lot of birds and marine life that get caught in them or try to consume them.
A 1987 report counted roughly one million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals being killed each year due to the six-pack containers, and that number has certainly increased as plastic pollution increases.
Now, these can be recycled by consumers searching online for the closest collection point or can sign up as a private collector to gain the specialised bins for them. As with the previous cases, they will collect the plastics and TerraCycle will deal with recycling the plastics they receive.
This shows how dedicated TerraCycle are, and the future is a much better place with companies that are working to reduce plastic use in the modern day.
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