26/09/2018 08:05 BST | Updated 27/09/2018 09:59 BST

Royal Mail Urges Environmental Campaigners To Stop Posting Crisp Packets Back To Walkers

"Put crisp packets in an envelope before posting."

Royal Mail has found itself in the middle of an unexpected row, after environmental campaigners started posting Walkers’ crisp packets back to the company’s headquarters.

Following a campaign on petition site 38 Degrees, people have shared snaps of themselves posting Walkers’ bags – which are currently non-recyclable – along with the hashtag #PacketInWalkers.

The company head office has a Freepost address, which means the postal service is legally obliged to deliver any mail sent there, but Royal Mail has stepped in, asking the campaigners to stop sending the packets without envelopes.

A statement from a company spokesperson said: “We strongly encourage customers not to post anything into the postal system which is not properly packaged.

“And if they are taking part in this campaign we would urge them to put crisp packets in an envelope before posting.”

Customers can obtain advice from any Post Office branch on packaging and restrictions. 

The #PacketInWalkers campaign was started by 61-year-old retired teacher Geraint Ashcroft, from Pontypridd.

Speaking to HuffPost UK last week, he argued that the move would “number one, raise awareness of the fact they [the packets] can’t be recycled and number two it puts the onus back on Walkers”.

Ashcroft had already gained more than 310,000 signatures on an online petition calling for Walkers to change their ways, which resulted in him being granted a meeting with Walkers’ parent company PepsiCo to discuss the challenges involved in creating an environmentally-friendly packaging alternative.

A new statement from his fellow campaigner Cathy Warren added: “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.”

The company, which makes around 11 million packets of crisps in the UK each day, has committed to making the packets recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.