In a bid to drastically cut down on emissions, British snack food manufacturer Walkers is summoning the power of potato chips and beer. Yes, you read that right.
What the company is doing is utilizing new technology to capture carbon dioxide from beer fermentation in a brewery, which is then mixed with potato waste in order to produce fertilizer. That fertilizer is then spread on UK fields to feed the following year’s potato crop. Typically, making fertilizer produces high CO2 emissions, but this new technology adopted by Walkers can produce fertilizer without emissions, adding a list of carbon-saving techniques that the firm already has in place.
Walkers currently use an anaerobic digester that feeds potato waste to bacteria to produce methane, which is then burned to make electricity for the crisp-frying process. The new technology goes a step further by using the remains of the potato waste left after digestion and stirring it together with the brewery CO2 to make an enriched fertilizer. This not only encourages plant growth but also helps put carbon back into the soil.
While the new technology is impressive, we feel inclined to mention that Walkers is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, which has a less-than-impressive environmental record. The Break Free From Plastic Campaign ranked Pepsi second highest (after Coke) in the amount of plastic pollution it creates each year.