Crunch time for recycling crisp packets

PENSIONERS are battling the war on waste one crisp packet at a time.

Bield residents in St Andrews have collected over 8000 empty crisp packets in the local area to reduce the amount of litter and waste that finds its way into our seas.

Pauline Spencer, who lives in Bield’s Argyle Court, began a recycling initiative at the start of the year to help prevent crisp packets from ending up in landfill and the sea, since they can be recycled.

Fellow residents at Argyle Court and their families have been incredibly responsive to the scheme and, so far, have collected over 8000 empty bags.

The bags are given to local high schools as part of a scheme set up by Walkers that allows students to claim school vouchers in exchange for recycled crisp packets.

Pauline was initially driven to make a difference after she saw a clip on TV showing a 32-year-old crisp packet being pulled from the sea.

Shocked to see the perfectly preserved piece of litter being fished from the water, Pauline decided to take a stand.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw that the crisp bag that had been in the sea for so long was still perfectly readable. Even after 32 years, the lettering showed no signs of disappearing or degrading.

“It’s so important to do what we can to look after the environment, not just for our own sake but for our children and theirs to come.”

There are over 8500 drop-off locations for crisp packets across the UK to ensure that everyone can get involved no matter where they are.

Crisp packets are often seen as difficult or impossible to recycle due to their combined flexible plastic layer and metalised film. But, under this scheme, Walkers and recycling firm TerraCycle have combined their efforts to develop a new recycling solution for crisp packets.

The method involves cleaning and shredding the bags which allows them to be melted into small plastic pellets which are then transformed into new rigid plastic items, such as garden furniture.

Pauline added: “I’m amazed by how far the scheme has come. It just goes to show that there’s no age limit to making a huge difference in the world.

“I sincerely hope that I can encourage more people to recycle their crisp packets at local schools, together, we can make a really big difference.”

Bield provides a factoring service to residents at Argyle Court, a housing development for those aged 50 and over who want to be able to retain their independence while having help on hand if needed.

Bield has been providing high quality housing and related services for older people in Scotland for nearly 50 years, promoting a 'Free to Be' ethos that allows older people to live independent lives with assistance available when required.

To find out more about Bield and its developments, visit or follow us on Facebook @bieldhousingandcare and Twitter @BieldScotland