Volunteers 'shocked but not surprised' to find washed up Walkers crisp packet from 1985 on Hayling beach

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have said they hope to change attitudes on plastic pollution after they found a crisp packet dating back to 1985 during a beach clean on Hayling Island.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 9:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 3:36 pm

Bianca Carr, of Final Straw Solent, said volunteers were ‘shocked but not surprised’ to find the Walkers packaging at Sinah Beach on Saturday.

The packet, which once contained ready salted crisps, remains largely intact and its expiry date and bar code are still readable.

Its origins were originally pinned to the 1980s, before a Final Straw supporter pointed out all packets of crisps carry Saturday expiry dates.

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A Walkers crisps packet, dating back to 1985, which was found during the Final Straw Solent beach clean on Sinah Beach, Hayling Island, on Saturday. Picture: Final Straw Solent

Walkers itself says this is because production weeks at its manufacturing sites begin on a Sunday, with Saturdays classed the end of the week.

The packet’s best before date is therefore thought to be Saturday, July 6, 1985.

Mrs Carr said: ‘This shows absolutely everything we already know – plastic is built to last.

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Volunteers join The Final Straw Solent at Hayling Beach following the arrival of Storm Brendan. From left, Emma and Isaac Lovell, aged eight and seven. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘Many products like crisps tend to last about 20 minutes, yet we are wrapping them up in materials that last a lifetime.

‘Hopefully this will change the way people are thinking about this whole situation and change the way people are buying products.

‘They might use ones that are reusable instead of ones that will be on the planet forever.’

The team of 45 volunteers at the beach clean also found a poppadom packet thought to be 31 years old.

Tiny plastic nurdles found caught up in seaweed at the Final Straw Solent beach clean on Hayling Island. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Mrs Carr said 40 bags of litter were collected in total, amounting to a whopping 850kg, including tampon applicators, bottles and cans.

But nurdles, which are pellets used as raw materials in the manufacture of plastic products, were the most common find of the day.

‘Millions' of the tiny plastics were shovelled into bags, with beach clean organisers singling out Hayling Island as a hotspot for them.

Volunteers join The Final Straw Solent at Hayling Beach following the arrival of Storm Brendan. Pictured is beach cleaner Hazel Hooper of Southsea. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Tidal flow and the island’s proximity to Portsmouth are both thought to be contributors to the phenomenon.

Mrs Carr said: ‘We kind of have to thank Hayling Island for picking up everything.

‘People don’t always see this issue first-hand because they think it’s faraway problem, in the east. We want people to know it’s not.’

Final Straw Solent also held a beach clean at Warsash on Saturday, which drew a crowd of 35 volunteers.

It came after Storm Brendan battered the region with heavy winds last week, washing up swathes of plastics and litter.

The back of a Walkers crisp packet, from 1985, found at the Final Straw Solent beach clean on Hayling Island on Saturday. Picture: Final Straw Solent
Bianca Carr of Final Straw Solent at the Hayling beach clean. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Volunteers join The Final Straw Solent at Hayling Beach following the arrival of Storm Brendan. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Volunteers join The Final Straw Solent at Hayling Beach following the arrival of Storm Brendan. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
A poppadom packet found on Hayling Island as part of a Final Straw Solent beach clean. Picture: Final Straw Solent
Volunteers join The Final Straw Solent at Hayling Beach following the arrival of Storm Brendan. Pictured are Ethan Grounds, five, and Melissa Grounds, seven. Picture: Duncan Shepherd