Response from Walkers

Filed in Blog, packaging by on June 28, 2010 7 Comments
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Walkers crisps packaging

Walkers crisps packaging

One of our readers mentioned she had seen recycling information on two brands of Walkers crisps. It was a number 5 – PP.

I contacted Walkers to get more information about how to recycle this material (this was before we set up local crisp packet recycling).

Here is their response.

Dear Mrs Green

Thank you for your recent email regarding our packaging.

At Walkers, we continually look for ways to be more environment-friendly. We are currently working with the carbon trust to assess the levels of carbon used in the manufacture of all of our products, and have made a commitment to reduce these levels year on year.

Our aim is always to produce high quality, great tasting crisps and snacks, and packaging plays a key part in this, to maintain the quality of the product for the duration of its shelf life. Our multipack outer film is made from orientated polypropylene – this is a recyclable material, however only some local authorities are currently able to recycle this.

The film in which our products are packed is made from two layers of plastic polypropylene, sandwiched between a thin layer of aluminium. Whilst this film can also be recycled, as all plastics can, the difficulty lies in separating food debris from the surface and also splitting out the various components of the film, before this can be recycled. Currently, however, the energy required to do this often means there is little environmental gain in doing this.

However, that said, many local authorities are improving their recycling capability each year as environmental awareness and recycling methods improve and therefore you may wish to contact your local council to establish what facilities are available in your locality.

In the meantime, please be assured of our ongoing commitment to seeking ways to make our business and our products more sustainable. If you would like to learn more about this and our work with the carbon trust, please visit our website at Alternatively, please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any further help.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact us.


Jill Heath
Consumer Care Advisor
Customer Services

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 (7)

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  1. Antonio Pachowko says:

    Dear Green Family

    It seems to me that Walker’s have given a wishy-washy type answer i.e it is not our fault but if you council does it, it is OK, If not, go complain to you council to get it changed. In my experience talking to customer service departments in any company is a total waste of time, as there job is to defend the company image and NOT to solve any issues/ problems you may be having.

    If I could offer some advice as I have a lot experience in writing to companies with Complaints and to my eyes there is no difference in how you should approach them. I have complained about the service of Tesco, Sainsbury, Boots and EDF, each time getting an apology and compensation.

    This is my methodology:

    1) Always write to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, as this will bypass the Customer service departments. This will ensure a quicker response and a better level response. CEOs do not like it when customers complain to them or show that they unhappy with their product (s)/ services. Use company directories and the web to find the name and address of CEOs.

    2) Start the letter saying how much you like their products. This will show that you are not a moaner but have general concerns.

    3) State in clearly and concisely terms what information you require or what actions that you want the company to undertake. This will give them the information so that no misunderstanding could arise.

    4) State if the problem or issue is not resolve that you will go elsewhere for business. Companies do not like losing business as for every customer lost it take 7 new customers to generate the same level of business. Do not be scared to change your business, as it is bad PR.

    5) Give them a timeframe otherwise companies do have a tendency to let things drag on. They also will apology for taking too long to reply.

    If you follow these five rules they you are guaranteed to get a good result. If you receive a reply (most likely not from the CEO) that does not address the issue then write another letter asking that you want a reply personally from the CEO and this will get excellent results. Your letter must be short and specific and yet not to be too hard on the company.

    To give you an example of how the above works and how on person could make a difference I will use my complaint to Tesco’s. One day I was shopping at my local Tesco (about six weeks ago) when I noticed a pricing error on the Tesco’s range of Pitted black olives, where a 330g jar could be bought for 67p but a 935g jar cost £3.21. This was very expensive as you could buy approximately 5 small jars for the weight of 3 jars. As you could see this was a rip off. Firstly I called the Grocer Manager out but she was no help making excuses and not addressing the issue. She suggested I get in contact with Head office, who said it was a pricing error and they will look into it. Two weeks later nothing happen (NB companies hope that customer will “forget” about the problem) and so I wrote a letter to Sir Terry Leahy, which was replied to by the customer services Executive acknowledging the pricing error and that the buyer was looking into changing the prices. Two weeks passed and nothing had changed, and so I wrote another letter replying to the customer services Executive in stronger terms depending a timetable for the change and a personal apology/ reply from Sir Terry. Within one week the prices were changed to reflecting true unit prices. A week later an apology came from sir Terry acknowledging the Mistake and that it was taking too long to change. You see what one person can do with a little patience and effort.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @Antonio Pachowko: Hi Antonio, welcome to the site and thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge and helpful information. I shall be sure to follow your ideas and see what changes it makes to the responses I receive.
    Thanks again 🙂

  3. Andre ferrari says:

    Notice how the customer always has to make the effort to try and work our what can be recycled, whilst the manufacturers take all the profit? Not good enough! The gobbledegook from the Walkers representative shows how little they see things from that standpoint. So much packaging is now composite materials that it is impossible for Joe Public to understand. Someone is always going to end up putting this stuff in the wrong recycling bin and contaminating a load of the right stuff. And it will probably be me! And increasingly, for someone who has been passionate about recycling, I am ceasing to care! I am fed up with the risk of being berated by authorities for putting the wrong stuff in the wrong bin, because companies like Walkers clearly don’t give a toss, and are happy to make a complicated world even more complicated.
    I would make it compulsory for all manufacturers to print a large clear code on the front of their product to indicate which type of recycling to use for their packaging. Non recyclable packaging would have to have the code printed in TWICE the size (to assist consumer choice). I would also be tempted to make them print images of wildlife choked on plastic across the bottom of the packs, in the way of cigarette packs!
    However I am not in charge of these things, so the only response to the likes of Walkers is to tell them since they can’t be arsed to use recyclable packaging, then we can’t be arsed to buy their products. End of. Skip the crisps and stay slimmer!
    Keep the pressure up, because we are now at a point where the companies who make a virtue of the greenness of their packaging will gain the competitive edge.

  4. Geoff says:

    Got the same reply from walkers x have not bought another pack since x

    • Mrs Green says:

      Looks like those stock replies are still being sent out then, Geoff? What a shame we’ve moved beyond genuine, personalised and helpful responses from companies!

  5. You mention local crisp packet recycling but there’s no details, do you have a link? I’d love to get involved 🙂

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Danni, sadly the crisp bag recycling has stopped now. I was able to set up a collection point in my local Tesco store, but the charity are no longer collecting the used bags, so there are no more collections 🙁

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