Chips Producer Turns Potato Waste Into Fertilizer
PepsiCo UK has joined forces with British clean-tech firm CCm Technologies to use its carbon-capture technology on potato peelings left over from making Walkers chips in its Leicester factory. The aim is to turn it into low-carbon fertilizer to be returned to the farms across the UK where the potatoes for the chips are grown.
Following a promising trial of the fertilizer, which was applied to potato seedbeds this year, the company is planning to install CCm’s specialist equipment in 2021 to begin wider production. Once supplied at scale, the fertilizer is expected to reduce its potato-based carbon emissions by 70%. The technology is designed to connect to PepsiCo UK’s anaerobic digester, which uses food waste to generate nearly 75% of the electricity used at the plant and helps it send no waste to landfill. The newly installed equipment will use the by-product waste from the anaerobic digestion process to create the fertilizer.
By turning potato waste into a reusable resource, the company says it is ‘driving more circularity’ in the potato growing process, helping farmers reduce their impact on the environment. PepsiCo is also looking to bring the benefits of the new, circular fertilizer to further European markets and other crops, such as oats and corn.
Senior director of European agriculture, David Wilkinson, said: “From circular potatoes to circular crops, this innovation with CCm Technologies could provide lessons for the whole of the food system, enabling the agriculture sector to play its part in fighting climate change. This is just the beginning of an ambitious journey, we’re incredibly excited to trial the fertilizer on a bigger scale and discover its full potential.”