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PepsiCo brand saves lives through unique recycling scheme

UK food company Walker’s Crisps has partnered up with TerraCycle to accomplish two things: ensure more of its packaging is recycled and raise funds for life-saving services in Scotland. 

Over 55% of all crisps sold annually in the UK are produced by the PepsiCo subsidiary Walker’s Crisps. Over 7000 crisps packets are produced daily at its factory in Leicester alone, which comes down to 77 000 tonnes per year. The popularity of the salty snacks has been linked to greater littering.

In a bid to boost recycling rates for this flimsy multi-layer packaging, Walker’s has turned to the UK branch of TerraCycle, which specialises in finding recycling solutions for even the most difficult waste products. The pair have set up a collection network of 14 098 locations across the UK which have processed 9.1 million packets since the scheme went live at the start of this year.

TerraCycle relies on state-of-the-art equipment to clean, sort and shred the material. The process turns them into plastic pellets used to manufacture bags, frisbees, park benches, plant pots and watering cans.

Some of the funds raised by the recycling scheme are supporting UK-based charities. A notable example is the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance, also called HeliMed. The trauma response unit operates out of Perth Airport and can reach 90% of Scotland’s population within 25 minutes. The charity has saved many lives and has plans to expand its helicopter fleet next year to reach even more people.

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