The British brand of PepsiCo potato chips, Walkers crisps, has announced that it will be creating a new biodegradable chip bag from its potato remains, according to a BBC interview with PepsiCo UK & Ireland President Richard Evans.
The potato peelings would otherwise be used as animal food, but the company believes it can deliver potato-based bags to UK shelves in as little as 18 months.
PepsiCo is also modifying what goes into the bags. It will use potatoes that require less water to make the chips. This will result in a 50 percent reduction in water usage by 2015. It will also serve as a pilot project for Pepsi’s worldwide chip brands.
In the U.S., PepsiCo markets potato chips under the FritoLay brand. The company made news earlier this year when it introduced compostable packaging for SunChips bags, plastic made from polylactic acid (PLA) that is designed to break down in compost systems.
FritoLay has shifted much of that packaging back to traditional plastic, based on user feedback that the bags were too loud.
Producing a biodegradable chip bag holds significance because of the challenge in recycling traditional chip bags. They are typically a plastic product lined with aluminum foil, which requires separation before any material can be recycled. In the U.S., Terracycle offers a mail-in program for potato chip bag reuse.
PepsiCo’s largest competitor, Coca-Cola, has also introduced bioplastics into its supply chain. Last year, the company last year introduced plant-based PET bottles for both its soda and water products.