Royal Mail has urged environmental campaigners to stop posting crisp packets without envelopes in protest at non-recyclable bags.
Crisp makers Walkers have been flooded with empty packets that have been sent with their freepost address simply placed directly on them.
Campaigners had asked people to post the bag and ‘flood Walkers social media with pictures of us popping them in the post’.
However, Royal Mail has now stepped in as post without envelopes have to be sorted by hand rather than machine – causing delays.
A spokesperson said: ‘We strongly encourage customers not to post anything into the postal system which is not properly packaged.
‘Crisp packets can’t go through the machines, they are not normal mail items therefore my hardworking colleagues need to manually sort them, which adds to time.’
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The campaign was started by 38 Degrees, who set up a petition calling on Walkers to make their crisp packets recyclable.
People have been posting selfies of themselves posting the crisp packets with the hashtag #PacketInWalkers.
Cathy Warren, campaigner at 38 Degrees said: ‘Royal Mail have asked people to use envelopes when posting crisp packets and we will update the thousands of Walkers’s customers who are taking part.
— MarvinE (@MarvinE0) September 23, 2018
Ditch plastic NOW @walkers_crisps – stop delaying, stop back pedalling and making excuses. Your plastic is everywhere in the UK- streets. hedges, beaches, the sea, rivers causing great environmental harm and killing wildlife – Alison, 38 Degrees member #packetinwalkers pic.twitter.com/1CzooVi5LO
— 38 Degrees (@38_degrees) September 24, 2018
— Cathy Warren (@Caffy45) September 20, 2018
#PacketinWalkers ♻ Mum & I are returning our PLASTIC bags back to @walkers_crisps today using the FREEPOST address.. their refusal to ditch plastic until 2025 = 28 BILLION MORE ❌ plastic packets will end up in landfillbefore then.. thank u @38_degrees for this Campaign 🤛🏽 pic.twitter.com/dp8IA27zJb
— Kate Gibb (@KateGibbPrint) September 21, 2018
— Aino Kattelus (@AinoKattelus) September 25, 2018
— Scott Bye (@Scott_Bye) September 22, 2018
‘Up and down the country, people are telling Walkers to step up when it comes to plastic waste.
‘Walkers produce a staggering 7,000 plastic crisp packets a minute which they don’t pay a penny to clean up. They need to listen to their customers and take action now.’
A Walkers spokesperson said: ‘We recognise the efforts being made to bring the issue of packaging waste to our attention.
‘The returned packets will be used in our research, as we work towards our commitment of improving the recyclability of our packaging.’
Royal Mail said it had handled about 30 crisp packets so far.
Walkers has pledged to make all its packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.