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Snack company releases first-of-its-kind chip bag: 'The potential to revolutionize packaging as we know it'

"This is a huge opportunity for brands and producers."

"This is a huge opportunity for brands and producers."

Photo Credit: iStock

A British chip company is leading the way in making strides toward reducing plastic pollution — one recyclable bag at a time.

The British Crisp Co.'s new chip bags, developed with sustainable packaging supplier EvoPak, are made of paper coated in a plastic alternative that's touted as being completely biodegradable. Packaging World reported that this is a "first for the format."

"We have developed a unique paper which has the potential to revolutionize packaging as we know it," said Daniel McAlister of EvoPak, per Packaging World. "And [it] costs the same as existing materials."

"Brits consume over eight billion packets of crisps each year, the majority of which are not recyclable and end up in landfill or incinerators," said Tom Lock, British Crisp CEO. "That's a lot of waste and a huge environmental problem." 

Indeed, the single-use plastic problem is dire — and it's getting worse. Each year, an estimated 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans, according to a National Academies publication. Even when it breaks down into smaller microplastics, it's heavily polluting, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment and endangering the wildlife and people living there. Despite these known dangers, plastic pollution could triple by 2040 (compared to 2016) unless big changes are made.

That's why eco-friendly initiatives — like this new snack packaging — are so important. While time will tell how well the bags are recycled in practice and the upgraded bags will still have some impact on the environment, the company says the new British Crisp Co. bag coating doesn't break down into microplastics and that it is biodegradable in addition to being recyclable.

The technology is already being used in other applications, from dishwasher tablets to soluble stitches, and the research team is optimistic that it can help to make other materials more sustainable.

"This is a huge opportunity for brands and producers who now have a viable, functional, and recyclable alternative that enables full fiber recovery in a standard paper recycling process," said Mark Lapping, CEO of Aquapak, per Packaging World.

Other companies around the world are making similar moves toward reducing plastic pollution. One resort in Utah's Park City is eliminating every single-use plastic on its property; another company is creating the first-ever biodegradable single-serve coffee pods; and Delta Airlines is considering eliminating plastic cups on board its flights, which could eliminate 7 million pounds of single-use plastic per year.

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