The people behind the UK’s first fully compostable crisp packets say consumers must push large corporations for more eco-friendly packaging.
Sean Mason and Mark Green launched Two Farmers last year. Their crisps are made on the same farm where the potatoes are grown near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.
Their crisp packets are made from cellulose film derived from eucalyptus. They break down within 26 weeks in a home compost bin.
Composting our packets is such an easy process. Just follow these simple steps…
1. Add crisp packet to compost bin
2. Add your food and garden waste
3. Wait 26 weeks
4. Ta-dah! Your compost is ready to use
And don't forget to share photos of your composing journey! pic.twitter.com/70lim3AYVR
— Two Farmers Crisps (@TwoFarmersHfd) September 16, 2019
Two Farmers make 7,500 packets a day and supply local farm shops and pubs.
But each bag costs around 11p more to make than standard crisp packet, meaning it can be difficult to persuade shops to stock them.
Mr Mason said they try to absorb some of the shortfall but still get turned down by retailers they approach.
“I think it is purely down to price,” he says.
“They love what we’re doing, we send them samples, they love the flavours, they love the texture of the crisps, they love the packet, they love the story about us and then they’ll come back to us and say ‘well actually we’re buying such and such a brand of crisps and we pay 6p a packet less’.”
Mr Green believes cost is the main reason large corporations are not using fully compostable packaging.
“It’s consumers who will have to demand this,” he says.
“They’ve got to go to their local shop or their deli or wherever they buy their crisps and demand this packaging or ask their shop to stock it.”
Another small business leading the way on environmentally-friendly packaging is Delphis Eco which produces cleaning products.
Founder and chief executive Mark Jankovich told Sky News: “Everything we do is around being as sustainable as possible.
“What goes into the bottle is environmentally friendly. The label’s environmentally friendly – we use vegetable ink so there’s no water in the process and the next thing that we needed to think about was obviously the plastic and packaging so we’ve done a huge amount of work there as well.
“I believe we are the only company in the UK to have 100% recycled plastic in all of their packaging.”
With small businesses proving it is possible to move away from single use plastic packaging why haven’t larger corporations done the same?
UK crisp manufacturer Walkers, which sold 15 million packets of crisps last year, says it is investigating “all options” around packaging and recycling.
A spokesperson said: “Our current focus in the UK is on developing recyclable crisp packaging that will be accepted as part of kerbside collections and on-the-go recycling bins.
“We believe this is the most sustainable option for the UK in the long-term as it would allow material to be reused, rather than relying on single-use materials. In the meantime we have the Walkers recycling scheme which collects used packs and reuses the plastic in other ways.”
Coca-Cola says the amount of recycled material in its plastic bottles will double from 25% to 50% by March next year.
Julian Hunt, at Coca-Cola, told Sky News: “I think we really welcome the innovation that is going on now in the food and drink market around packaging.
“We know that this is something that really concerns consumers and businesses of all sizes are responding to that challenge.”