WASTE POTATO peel from a UK crisp factory is being turned into a fertiliser in a bid to reduce the business's carbon footprint.

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 crisps in its Leicester factory, to turn it into low-carbon fertiliser to be returned to the farms across the UK where the potatoes for the crisps are grown.

Following a promising trial of the fertiliser, which was applied to potato seed beds this year, the company is planning to install CCm’s specialist equipment in 2021 to begin wider production. Once supplied at scale, the fertiliser is expected to reduce its potato-based carbon emissions by 70%.

The technology is designed to connect to Pepsico UK’s anaerobic digestor, 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 fertiliser.

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 fertiliser 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 learnings for the whole of the food system, enabling the agriculture sector to play its part in combating climate change. This is just the beginning of an ambitious journey, we’re incredibly excited to trial the fertiliser on a bigger scale and discover its full potential."

CCm is a British cleantech company based in Oxford and founding member of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales with the support of the World Economic Forum.

Its founding director, Pawel Kisielewski, said: “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. 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.”