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Brief Published: 12 Jan 2021

Walkers Uses Potato Peelings to Cut Carbon Emissions

Walkers is repurposing potato waste as fertiliser

UK crisp brand Walkers is hoping to reduce its carbon emissions by up to 70% by repurposing its waste potato skins and combining them with CO2 from beer production to create fertiliser for potato crops.

The brand has installed an anaerobic digester at its factory, which feeds potato waste to bacteria. The resulting methane gas is captured and used to produce the electricity needed to run the factory’s crisp frying machines. 

Walkers is working with UK government-funded carbon capture start-up CCm Technologies to take the leftover potato ‘cake’ from this process and combine it with discarded CO2 from a (yet to be determined) brewery. The resulting enriched fertiliser can be used by potato growers on their crops to add carbon back into the soil and boost yields.

Following a successful trial of the fertiliser on seed beds in 2020, the crisp producer is planning to add the specialist machinery to its Leicester factory in the summer of 2021, in preparation for the potato growing season in 2022. 

This clever process pulls carbon from a plethora of emission sources and returns it directly to the soil. Read How Soil Will Save the World for a look at the vital importance of re-enriching the soil for both the planet and the future of food production.

In addition, Walkers has committed to replacing all of its packaging with compostable, biodegradable or recyclable alternatives by 2025.

For our latest thoughts on how and why food brands must embrace circular production systems and sustainability-led innovation, read Three Post-Pandemic Food Shifts, Post-Pandemic Food Labelling and The Post-Vegan Opportunity.