Recycling crisp packets on Local News!

Filed in Blog, Videos by on February 24, 2010 16 Comments
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screenshot from West Country Tonight

screenshot from West Country Tonight

I was browsing the West Country Tonight Channel when a headline caught my eye. It read:

A woman from Gloucestershire who recycles so much she produced just one bag of rubbish last year has set up a crisp packet re-cycling scheme.”

Well I guessed that might be about me LOL!

View below to see our couple of minutes of TV coverage. You’ll get to see Jane Walker too; founder of the Philippine Community Fund. She’d love to fill a 40 foot shipping container with empty crisp packets; so how about it? Would you like to help out?

If you’re in Gloucester, you can take your packets to Tesco in St Oswalds Road (The old cattle market). If you’re not in Gloucester, then why not write to the manager of your local store and ask them to put in a recycling point. Tell them I sent you 😀

I’ve put together a sample letter if you’d like to write to your manager. Obviously you can put quill to ink and write your own handcrafted masterpiece, but if that sounds like too much effort, just copy and paste the one below and add your own details. The more of you who do it, the more likely Tesco are to roll with the idea. We’ve made a commitment to be just slightly more ‘out there’ this year, so why not make that same resolution yourself? You can find the address for your nearest Tesco with their store locator.

Once you’ve written your letter, settle down with a cuppa and watch our video on Monday’s “West Country Tonight”


Dear [name of local Tesco supermarket manager]

I read a story / saw a TV news item about a family who have set up a recycling collection point for empty crisp packets in their local Tesco store at Gloucester.

The crisp packets are shipped to the Philippine Community Fund in Manila; in shipping containers that are going there anyway.

The Philippine Community Fund (PCF) is a registered charity who provide healthcare, education and skills training to some of the poorest Filipino communities. The crisp bags are woven into handbags, pencil cases and purses which are sold through the charity to raise funds.

PCF has been providing schooling for children who live and would otherwise be working on the rubbish dumps for about seven years. Now, thanks to this programme, their parents, and older students who have left school make these bags are paid a fair wage which means they earn a living and learn life skills.

The Philippine Community Fund have recently finished building the largest school in the world made from recycled shipping containers! This will be large enough to offer education to every child who is working on the nearby dump site in Manila, making child labour a thing of the past for these children.

Due to the nature of the materials used, there is currently no way to recycle empty crisp packets in the UK. All we can do is put them in landfill, where they stay for hundreds of years. Sending them to the Philippines helps keep rubbish from our own landfills, tackles poverty and help improve lives.

I would like you to support this scheme by setting up a crisp packet recycling collection in your store.

You can find out more about the Philippine Community Fund by calling 01489 790219 or by visiting their website

You can find out more about the family who launched the scheme at their local Tesco on 07516 979 776 or by visiting their website:

Yours sincerely,



About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (16)

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  1. mel says:

    i’d love to do this – if only there was a tesco in walking distance!

    do you think other supermarkets (sainsburys for example) would take up the challenge too?

  2. Kirsty says:

    @mel: Hi Mel, I was thinking exactly the same as you. There isnt’ a Tesco that near to me, and I was wondereing wether the likes of you and me should take the bull by the horns, and write to them anyway. It can’t harm anything can it?

    Mrs Green, how is it going to work with the supermarkets who set up a crisp recycling bin outside of Gloucester? Will the store or an appointed volunteer be responsible for organising the crisp packets for distribution to FCP?

    Regards, Kirsty

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @mel: Hi mel, well Sainbsburys are accepting toothpaste tubes, so why not try them – you have nothing to lose!

    @Kirsty: HI Kirsty, I’m not yet sure; I’m just trying to rally interest at this point and we’ll sort out the ‘hows’ in the future 🙂

  4. Jill Shuker says:

    Well Mrs Green;

    what a fantastic thing you have done, and are doing.

    I have been thinking about these crisp packets. Could I start with my local shop and school? Could they have a receptacle for empty packets? If I collect these, how do I get them to you, or to PCF? Is it only crisp packets or can you take other items ie cheesy whosits; there is a huge variety of packets out there.

    What started me on this is: I regularly do a litter pick along my local lane and the vast majority of litter that I pick up consists of crisp packets, cigarette packests and fizzy drink plastic bottles; plus the regular heineken empty can (sometimes 2 or 3 cans) . So do these crisp packets have to be fairly clean?

    The philosophical point that a passerby mentioned as I was filling my 2nd bag of litter was that the quality of the litter reflected the value that those diposing of it placed on their bodies; so if someone has no respect for what they put into their bodies, then it is probrably expecting too much to hope that they would look after the environment.

    Keep up the great work, you certainly have given me something to aim for; everytime I put something in the bin, i think about how i could do things differently.


  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Jill Shuker: Hi Jill, thanks for leaving a comment and for your interest in crisp packet recycling. If you contact me through the contact page, telling me where you are, I can give you some information.

    The crisp packets are sanitised before use, so go ahead and litter pick them – I agree with you about a general lack of care, both personally and for the environment. Still, you are not one of them and you never know who you influence when you talk to them. 🙂 Keep up all your caring 🙂

  6. Poppy says:

    @Jill Shuker: @Mrs Green:

    J and I made up a little ditty when we were litter picking a while ago – to the tune of the much better known Fast Food song, by the Fast Food rockers – McDonalds, McDonalds …. Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Cola Can! We live near a trade park that has a McD and KFC. They supposedly send out members of staff on regular picks, but there is still an awful lot of discarded packaging. The bonus is, we can collect the little stickers from the cups for a free drink!! Keeps J happy 🙂

    I agree about the huge number of discarded crisp packets too 🙁 When we do the monthly collections, we cover quite a large area, so sadly, dividing it all up into recyclables and non-recyclables isn’t feasable. I wish it was. When I pick things up on the dog walk, I only bring home recyclables. Other stuff I only pick up if I’m heading in the direction of a bin. I note that you say the cans are empty – I’m amazed at how many of the ones I pick up, I have to tip out. I even found an unopened bottle of beer the other day!! And a very shiny new looking Strongbow glass!!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: I love that you collect the stickers for a free drink LOL! Looks like you got yourself a beer too 😉

  8. Poppy says:

    Pleased to be able to tell you Mrs G, if you haven’t already noticed, the collection bin for crisp packets at Tesco, is over flowing 🙂 🙂

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Indeed poppy; we’ve just done our third collection and have yet to weigh and count them all. Popularity is increasing all the time – for every overflowing container in the foyer, there are already 12 bags in the warehouse waiting for us 🙂

  10. Poppy says:

    @Mrs Green: That’s amazing! It just shows how many people are out there that want to make a difference 🙂

  11. Sinead says:


    I was amazed by your website and very inspired. although I can’t match you, I have learnt a lot and have made many changes at home, shopping and recycling and even in my garden. I have also put collection points around work to collect crisp packets, which I gather up weekly. i now have 4 shopping bags full weekly. people are even collecting them at home and bringing them in for me.

    thanks for a great informative site

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Sinead: Hi Sinead, welcome to the site – great to see you and thanks for collecting crisp packets – they make such a difference to the families living in the Philippines. Are you joining in with National Zero Waste Week?

  13. Sinead says:

    Hi Mrs G. I’ve just read the zero waste week stuff. Happy that we have very minimal food waste- if any. we don’t over stock anyway and i make smoothies to use up fruit too.
    its taken a while but i have persuaded my OH to stop buying things with extra packaging, like 4 tins of beans have pointless plastic wrapped around them. so we are slowly getting there. thanks to your site i am recycling more too.
    Zero waste sounds quite daunting but we wil make a concerted effort.

    I am still surprised by the number of shops that hand out plastic bags though. Next tried to give me 3 bags for a pair of earrings and a necklace!

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @Sinead: Hi Sinead, we make smoothies out of ‘coming up to throwing out time’ fruit too 😉 Shops giving out carrier bags; now don’t get me started on that one!

  15. Annelies Paris says:

    Are you still doing this? Seen your post 6 years late haha

    • Mr Green says:

      Hi Annelies, sadly, due to changes in legislation, we are not running this any more. We don’t know of another way to recycle crisp packets.

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