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Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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The potato chips are causing more damage than the health problems. The packaging of chips, crisps in the UK, is made of plastic and constitute a big chunk of plastic waste in the environment. Walkers, owned by PepsiCo, is the UK’s leading snack brand. It is now teaming up with recycling firm TerraCycle to launch the UK’s first crisp packet recycling scheme to deal with the crisp packet waste.

Every year 6 billion crisps packets are sold and thrown away after eating the crisps, of course, by the consumers in the country. The news follows a public campaign against plastic waste earlier this year by snack fans. These fans began posting crisp packets back to Walkers in protest, complaining that the crisp packaging was not recyclable. Consumers were taking selfies of themselves posting empty crisp packets addressed to Walkers and putting them online with the hashtag #PacketInWalkers.

Now the brand has unveiled a scheme which will allow people to send packets back to TerraCycle, who will shred them into plastic pellets to be used in items like roofing, flooring, trays and even outdoor furniture.

To encourage the collection and return of the crisp packets for recycling, Walkers is asking customers to collect a batch of packets and drop them off at specific collection points. All brands of crisp packets will be accepted and there will be around 191 collection points across the country to put them in.

If access to a nearby collection point is difficult to get to, then consumers can have the packets collected from their homes by a courier, free of charge.

The UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove is in support of the scheme.“As custodians of our planet, we must take action now to protect our oceans and wildlife from single-use plastic pollution. Walkers are setting a fine example with this new scheme, and I want to see other companies step-up, follow suit and reduce their environmental impact,” he said.

Football TV pundit Gary Lineker, Walkers brand ambassador, also backed up the scheme and has voiced an online film explaining how it works.

PepsiCo is the parent company of Walkers and the initiative by the company is a step forward in achieving its goal of making all its packaging completely recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025.

Ian Ellington, PepsiCo UK’s general manager, said: “This is the first crisp packet recycling scheme in the UK and it will only work if everyone gets collecting and sending in, which is why we’ve made the scheme as simple as possible and free.”

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