Walkers crisps, one of the largest buyers of British potatoes, is partnering with British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies to reduce its carbon footprint by turning its potato waste into fertiliser.
Using innovative carbon-capture technology, potato peelings leftover from making crisps will be transformed into low-carbon fertiliser and returned to farms where potatoes for Walkers crisps are grown across the UK.
Following a promising trial of the fertiliser, which was applied to potato seed beds this year, Walkers is planning to install CCm’s specialist equipment at its Leicester factory next year to begin wider production in preparation for its 2022 crop. Once supplied at scale, the fertiliser is expected to reduce Walkers’ potato-based carbon emissions by 70%.
The technology is designed to connect to the factory’s anaerobic digestor, which uses food waste to generate nearly 75% of the electricity used at the plant. The newly installed equipment will use the by-product waste from the anaerobic digestion process to create the fertiliser.
By turning potato waste into a reusable resource, Walkers is driving more circularity in the potato growing process, helping farmers reduce their impact on the environment. This initiative forms part of a broader award-winning agriculture programme from Walkers, which has previously helped UK growers achieve a 50% cut in their water use and carbon emissions.
The new initiative could set Walkers on a path to becoming carbon-negative in its potato production over the next decade. In addition to the low carbon status of the fertiliser itself, research projects that its long-term use will improve soil health, aiding a natural carbon sequestration process.
Walkers brand owner, PepsiCo, is also looking to bring the benefits of the new, circular fertiliser to further European markets and other crops, such as oats and corn.
David Wilkinson, PepsiCo’s Senior Director of European Agriculture commented: “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 is just the beginning of an ambitious journey, we’re incredibly excited to trial the fertiliser on a bigger scale and discover its full potential.
“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.”
This innovation in fertiliser production will progress in partnership with CCm Technologies, a British cleantech company based in Oxford and founding member of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales with the support of the World Economic Forum.
Pawel Kisielewski, CCm Founding Director commented: “CCm is delighted that PepsiCo has chosen our technology to demonstrate the huge potential that innovative approaches can have in promoting sustainable agriculture across the UK. By enabling the sustainable reuse of waste resources and the locking of captured carbon back into the soil, our partnership represents a significant step forward in proving that agriculture can play a role in carbon reduction and the circular economy.”
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