Beer and crisps used to cut carbon emissions

Crisp brand Walkers is to produce a low-carbon fertiliser using potato off-cuts and carbon dioxide captured from the brewing process.

As first reported by the BBC, the PepsiCo-owned snack brand, which has partnered with Oxford tech firm CCm Technologies, said the new fertiliser would reduce its potato-growing emissions by 70%.

It follows a successful trial of the low-carbon compost on this year’s crop. The fertiliser will now be given to UK farms which supply Walkers with its potatoes from next year.

Walkers is now planning to install CCm’s technology at its Leicester plant in 2021 in order to produce the fertiliser in larger quantities from the 2022 crop.

This technology use the byproduct of the site’s anaerobic digester to make the fertiliser, while also generating almost three-quarters of the electricity used at the facility.

David Wilkinson, PepsiCo’s Senior Director of European Agriculture, said the technology could “provide learnings for the whole of the food system”.

He added: “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.”

The initiative could help Walkers to make its potato production carbon negative within the next decade.

The waste carbon used in the manufacturing is currently sourced from the brewing industry, however in the future Walkers hopes to source it from its own supply chain.

A spokesperson confirmed that there was no brewing partner being considered at the moment. It is understood PepsiCo is looking to use the new technology in other European markets and on other crops including corn and oats.

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