How Walkers is using potato peelings to cut emissions

Walkers crisps will be using potato peelings and CO2 waste from its supply chain to produce a low-carbon fertiliser for UK farms.

Parent company PepsiCo will install carbon capture equipment, produced by British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies, in its Leicester factory in 2021. When rolled out at scale it is estimated the fertiliser will cut potato-based carbon emissions by 70%. 

The fertiliser was trialled on potato crops on a farm in Shropshire this year, using CO2 waste from breweries to generate the test fertiliser, which is commonly used in carbon capture utilisation due to its food-grade quality. 

A PepsiCo spokesperson told SM: “As the technology is rolled out to Walkers supplier farms more broadly, we will be looking at ways to source the carbon dioxide from our own supply chain.”

The potato waste will go through PepsiCo’s anaerobic digestor, which uses food waste to generate nearly 75% of the electricity used at the Leicester plant, before the by-product goes into connected CCm technology to produce the fertiliser. 

The initiative could enable PepsiCo to “become carbon negative in its potato production over the next decade”. It intends to scale up the production and use the new fertiliser on other crops such as oats and corn.

David Wilkinson, senior director of European agriculture at PepsiCo, said: “From circular potatoes to circular crops, this innovation with CCm Technologies could provide learnings for the whole of the food system, enabling the agriculture sector to play its part in combating climate change. 

“This initiative is a step in the right direction, and we will continue working hard to lower the carbon impact of our products from field, through manufacturing sites, to consumption.”

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