Leicester

Walkers launches recycling scheme after storm over crisp packets

Crisp packet on football pitch Image copyright PA
Image caption Walkers said packets kept the crisps fresher for longer and therefore cut food waste

A recycling scheme for crisp packets has been launched by Walkers after it was targeted by protests on the issue.

Walkers was the focus of a campaign where its crisp packets were posted back to the snack firm, which led to problems at Royal Mail sorting offices.

Now the company said it had put in place collection points across the UK and also offers a free courier service.

Environmental group Beach Guardian welcomed the move, but said "the most vital thing is that people use it".

Image copyright Beach Guardian
Image caption Campaigner Emily Stevenson with a Walkers crisp packet with a sell by date from 1997 - the year she was born

Leicester-based Walkers had faced months of criticism that its metallised plastic packets were contributing to litter and marine pollution.

Packets dating back decades were found on beaches, and a petition demanding environmentally-friendly packaging received more than 330,000 signatures.

Another campaign saw people encouraged to post packets back to Walkers, prompting Royal Mail to intervene as the plastic pouches were slowing down its systems.

The new recycling scheme was first announced in the summer, but is officially launched on Monday.

A spokesman for Walkers said: "Crisp packets are technically recyclable, the issue until now has been that they weren't being separated or collected for recycling.

"This scheme will tap into an established network of recycling collection points around the UK.

"It is simple and free to use, all brands of crisp packets will be accepted and will ultimately be turned into other basic plastic items."

Image copyright TerraCycle
Image caption It is planned the packets will be recycled into basic household items

Those who cannot get to a recycling centre can use a dedicated courier service free of charge, the company said.

Emily Stevenson, co-founder of Beach Guardian, said: "This scheme is a great step in the right direction. It gives people an option to dispose of their packets responsibly.

"Of course the most vital thing is that people use it."

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