Beer and Potato Chips Are Teaming Up to Save the Planet
British snack brand Walkers is using technology that combines potato waste and brewery emissions to make fertilizer.
Few things go together like a cold beer and a salty bag of potato chips. In England especially, “a pint and a pack of crisps” is a standard pub order. But the popular British snack company Walkers has developed a way for this combo to do more than appease drinkers’ palates. They’re hoping beer and potato chips can help save the planet, too.
PepsiCo-owned Walkers is hoping to cut its potato-based carbon dioxide emissions as much as 70 percent by utilizing a technique created by startup CCm Technologies that combines the CO2 gas unleashed during beer fermentation with potato waste to create fertilizer. Walkers hasn’t decided which brewery they will partner with for the project, according to the BBC, but the plan is to have the system rolled out at the brand’s factory in Leicester in advance of the 2022 potato crop.
Walkers says they trialed the technology this year, using the potato peel-based fertilizer to help grow—yes—more potatoes. Typically, creating fertilizer itself would create CO2 emissions, but instead, CCm’s system reportedly uses carbon dioxide captured from the brewing process for its fertilizer production, all at a comparable price to making traditional fertilizers.
“CCm is delighted that PepsiCo has chosen our technology to demonstrate the huge potential that innovative approaches can have in promoting sustainable agriculture across the UK,” Pawel Kisielewski, CCm Founding Director, said in announcing the partnership. “By enabling the sustainable reuse of waste resources and the locking of captured carbon back into the soil, our partnership represents a significant step forward in proving that agriculture can play a role in carbon reduction and the circular economy.”
Meanwhile, though this teamwork of chips and beer makes for a great headline, PepsiCo’s Senior Director of European Agriculture David Wilkinson explained that the benefits could go even further. “From circular potatoes to circular crops, this innovation with CCm Technologies could provide learnings for the whole of the food system, enabling the agriculture sector to play its part in combating climate change,” he stated. “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.”
PepsiCo says they hope to use this circular fertilizer on other crops like oats and corn. Now if they can only figure out how to use it to cut the emissions on pork pies, British pubs will be super environmentally friendly.